Interview

Matthew Hindson on his score for David Bintley's new ballet, Faster

In 2009, David Bintley and composer Matthew Hindson collaborated to produce E=mc², a one-act ballet which won the South Bank Show award for dance. This year they will unveil a new work, Faster, inspired by the Olympic motto 'Faster, Higher, Stronger'.

Matthew believes that the choice of title has helped structure his work and gives it focus.

‘[Myself and David] agreed that the title was a good thing,' explains Matthew, 'as was the general notion of the piece being based around the concept of sport. We also agreed that the ballet was not to be about throwing javelins and the like. Faster, Higher, Stronger is again symphonic in scope; it is about 30 minutes or so in duration and in three movements, like E=mc². Perhaps each of the movements can be seen to relate somewhat to the words in the title, though I haven’t been strict about this. In fact each of the words permeates each of the movements in some way.’

As David has previously said, the ballet focusses less explicitly on individual sports, and more on the psychological aspect of athletic performance.

'What motivates sports people to push and punish their bodies for decades?' asks Matthew. 'What is the basis of the human competitive spirit? What does it feel like, inside, to win at an event like the Olympics? What does it feel like if a serious injury is sustained? What is it about sport that binds communities together? These are the interesting questions to me.’

Matthew states that the experience of having collaborated with David and the Company on E=mc² is informing his creative process for this new work:

‘One of interesting practical things was hearing the orchestra in the pit at the Hippodrome. It’s quite a different sound from the concert stage, so I have taken that into account in terms of the musical character. I am aiming to make the piece very colourful and energetic, writing for the excellent players in the orchestra. I’m also more aware than ever of the need for the dancers to have cues from the musicians, and maybe even the other way around – to have some parts in which the conductor responds to cues in the choreography.’

The unique demands that composing for dancing places on a composer are very much foremost in his mind:

‘I’m sure that every composer says this, but writing music and then having it delivered in such a physical and visceral form as dance is both stimulating and slightly disconcerting, because the end results cannot be predicted on our parts. We’re only imagining half of the end result when we write the music – that’s what makes it so exciting.’

This interview is taken from a longer article by Gerald Dowler which originally appeared in Entrechat, the magazine of BRB Friends.