Tarik O'Regan

The Pure Good of Theory
for violin and orchestra

duration: 13 minutes

The Pure Good of Theory
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra
Poetry: Wallace Stevens (1879 – 1955)

This composition takes for its title that of the poem of the same name by Wallace Stevens from his 1947 collection Transport to Summer. The time of the composition’s poem, a typically nonsensical work, coincides with the revelations about Nazi mass-extermination and the ensuing judicial process for war-crimes at Nuremberg.

Remembering that during this period the word ‘transport’ had acquired some especially terrible resonances and also the fact that the end of the second section contains the words ‘He was a Jew from Europe or might have been’, The Pure Good of Theory becomes an exceptional poem in Wallace’s œuvre with its references to political machinations.

Tarik O’Regan, August 2000

Tarik O'Regan (b.1978) is currently completing his D.Phil. in Musical Composition at New College, Oxford having previously studied at Pembroke College, Oxford (B.A.) and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (M.Phil.).

His works have been performed by, among many others, the BBC Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Martyn Brabbins), the London Sinfonietta (Martyn Brabbins), Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (Pierre-André Valade), BBC Singers (Bob Chilcott), New College Choir (Edward Higginbottom), Clare College Choir (Tim Brown) and James Bowman. His compositions have been selected for various international festivals and for regular national broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and for television on BBC 2.

Tarik O'Regan is a classical recordings reviewer for The Observer newspaper and a supervisor in 20th century music history, analysis and composition for various Colleges in Cambridge University.

Published by Oxford University Press and Sulasol, Helsinki, he was recently awarded a prestigious MacDowell Fellowship in the USA.

Back to shortlist.