Mel Mercier: Testament review – Coherent and endlessly intriguing works
There’s a deeply alluring austerity about this collection of music written from theatre by Mel Mercier.
Somehow, he manages to transmute the three dimensional experience of theatre into this soundscape, capturing and releasing into the ether sometimes fleeting excerpts of his work, where they find fresh flight in the company of one another.
Mercier has been writing for theatre for over two decades now and is a Tony nominated composer for his work on the Broadway production of Colm Tóibín’s The Testament Of Mary.
There’s a distinctly eastern influence in his work for this Deborah Warner-directed play, with Greek island lute and Persian ney woven together by Nick Roth’s saxophone and the labyrinthine percussive forces of Mercier along with Francesco Turrisi and Noel Eccles.
This otherworldliness reverberates across some of the other 10 pieces, taken from nine productions that range from a Druid production of Man Of Aran (richly stitched with the voices of Liam Ó Maonlaí and Fiona Kelliher) to The Powerbook, another Mercier collaboration with Deborah Warner and Fiona Shaw.
Remarkably, Mercier forges a coherent arc with his collection, and still each piece stands robustly on its own merit.