Dance from Kafka's Chimp

Listen to preview (or download) on iTunes

Buy the Paradise Haunts... CD

Length / year

5' - 1993




" Lontano clearly relished the rhythmic elan and vivid instrumentation of the Dance from Kafka's Chimp "
Martyn Harry - Gramophone Magazine

Performance history

Vale of Glamorgan Festival
Lontano Ensemble
Odaline de la Martinez - conductor

Subsequent Performances
Pwllheli Town Hall (Criccieth Festival)
BBC National Orchestra of Wales Players

London Premiere
St John's Smith Square
27th May 1997
Lontano Ensemble
Odaline de la Martinez - conductor

Programme note

My music-theatre work 'Kafka's Chimp' with libretto by Mark Morris is inspired by Kafka's fragment 'A Report to an Academy' in which a former ape giving a lecture to a distinguished gathering tells how he has sped through evolution and become a man in just five years. The work was commissioned jointly by Lontano and the Banff Centre, Canada and received its first performance in 1996.

The work has twelve short sections, each somewhat in the manner of a music video with all the singers and instrumentalists on stage. In this section Peter, formerly a chimp, and Kaye who he has just been out with for the evening are dozing on a sofa in her apartment. In an echo of his past a family of chimps, joined in the theatre version by some of the instrumentalists, dance around them.