The original tape was half an hour long, it was sent to Peter Maxwell-Davies by post. The recording was on a seven inch spool of magnetic tape. Which was recorded on the 'Revox', that is still to be seen in the archives room 'La Memoire', at the 'World Center of Voice' in the Chateau de Malerargues, France. The recording was made before the advent of 'multiple track recording', so Roy's chorded sounds (= multyphonic sounds) were made by his voice alone without any editing, on a domestic machine.
On this CD of "Eight songs for a mad king", now available to you, you can hear a good demonstration of Roy Hart's voice at the height of his vocal training in the mid sixties. Roy was not interested in vocal gymnastics, his object was to give maximum meaning to the words. Amongst a number of extracts on this CD you will be able to hear him singing, as only he can, the phrase "I am Dionysius, the many voiced god" this is not due to some inflated flight of egotism on his part. (This was not part of Roy Hart's character). The line comes from the Greek play "Les Bacchantes" written by Euripides, which we, the 'Roy Hart Theatre', were in the process of rehearsing at the time under Roy Hart's direction. We later came to perform this classical piece of theatre extensively all over Europe.
A number of copies of this same demonstration recording were sent to several other composers at the same time as Peter's. The happy result was that three other contemporary pieces of music were also written for Roy Hart's voice, which in the passage of time he came to perform also. One of them was Paul Portner's "Ich Bin" also available as audio CD from this web-site. Another piece that was written as a result of the demonstration tape was "Biodrame" written by Serge Béhar. An extract of this piece is also is available to you here. The third composer was Hans Werner Henze, who wrote 'Versuch uber Schweine' for Roy's voice. Other works that appeared at this time for Roy were Karl Heinz Stockhausen's 'Spirale' and Stockhausen's 'Ausden Sieben Targen'. A “Description of an Inner Experience” was composed for him by Meinhard Rüdenauer.
Here is the story behind it
Index page for "Eight songs for a mad king"