Nick Roth Music

Xenia (2018)

for soprano, mezzo-soprano, actor, violin, piano and amplified objects

Commissioned by the Contemporary Music Centre in 2018, Xenia is an RSVP to the invitation by the Bealtaine Festival to consider the philosophical implications of Jacques Derrida’s “Of Hospitality”.

The book, itself an invitation by Anne Dufourmantelle, explores the conditional as a necessity of the impossible absolute – the shadow of the Other as Day emerging from Night. Within it, I discovered that the French (l’hôte) and Greek (xenos) words for guest and host are both contronyms – double-headed Janus words indicating sites for turbulence and conflict.

An impermanent and transitory art like music knows much about the nomadic nature of our passage through time. Whilst Xenia is just a child’s drawing in the sand, the trace in thought left by “Of Hospitality” is alive, the motion of the wind.