In three short movements, Agnes Wisley’s Chillout Fantasy was commissioned by the College Commission Consortium and its premiere was given at the Barbican by the Guildhall Symphonic Wind Ensemble, conducted by Peter Gane, on 18th March 2008.
Agnes Wisley of the title is a fictional lady of solid build and fearsome aspect (not unlike one of Wooster’s aunts). Beneath her armour-plated bosom beats the heart of a romantic: her bedside books are the publications of Mills & Boon with titles such as Stormfire, Second Chance for Love, and Angry Desire.
Each movement is quicker than the one before. In Daydreams Agnes dreams wistfully of the chisel-jawed hunk who will whisk her from her drab life to an improbable paradise. Bodice-ripper plays on that cliché of cheap romantic fiction, the violent swing between hostility and passionate desire. The characters in such stories see-saw madly from one emotion to the other – usually as a result of absurd misunderstandings. In this movement the mood swings literally from one bar to the next. In Disco nightmare, Agnes dreams she is at a disco. During a “comfort break” in the Ladies, she overhears girlie chatter revealing that her man is two-timing her. She is “devastated”, and her fantasies are rudely shattered. This is not how such yarns usually end . . .
- Disco nightmare