I _ the body electric Philip Venables

I _ the body electric cover
Text/libretto by
Walt Whitman
5 mins

Voice, accompanied Voice & Piano Voice(s) & 1-3 Instruments

1 Speaker, 1 Male Voice, 1 Piano, 1 Unspecified Ensemble

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Songs for the Twenty-First Century (Score) ISMN 57036-192-2 £17.95 Buy now

male singer and a male speaker playing a piano or another instrument

Programme note

I sing the body electric takes cuttings from Walt Whitman’s much longer poem called I sing the body electric. I’ve parsed out the emotive words from the text and ‘beeped’ them out using an instrument. The ‘censored’ text is read aloud while the emotive words that had been removed are re-inserted into the sung part. As a result, Walt Whitman’s ‘monologue’, written over 100 years ago, becomes a dialogue between two men, bringing out the brave and rebellious carnal aspects of the text – and, hopefully, a little tender romance.

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