Daniel Kerr stars in 'The Pythagorean Comma'Loosely based on Jules Verne's story "Mr Ray Sharp and Miss Me Flat", "The Pythagorean Comma" is a music drama with text by Blake Morrison and music by Gavin Bryars. It's about one of the oldest mysteries in the science of sound. The story says Bryars, "has wit, whimsy, fantasy and magic and is also about scientific experiment".
Verne's story takes place in a 19th century Swiss village. This contemporary take on the original is set on a remote fictional Scottish island but the essential story is unchanged.
A village organist gets old and deaf and stops playing and the organ falls silent. A mysterious stranger arrives who not only plays the organ beautifully but also declares that he will develop a new organ registration with the voices of the children in the school. Each will have his or her own note that has a special resonance.
Though the children are musically untrained, the stranger rehearses them with an iron discipline and prepares them for a Christmas concert. It's at this concert that he demonstrates his phenomenon of a "human organ". He tells the children that he will make them famous and that they are a choir like no other choir.
A boy and girl who are arch rivals are given their special notes. They're angry because this strange music maestro seems to have given them the same note. However he explains that there is a tiny beating sound between them - and this difference is the Pythagorean Comma. The two children are relieved that they have their own notes but strangely, once they start to sing, their old rivalry disappears and it is as if a new harmony has come to them and to the village in general.
The stranger seems to have a power over the choir and they outperform everyone's expectations in a Christmas concert for the island community.
Composer Gavin Bryars and author Blake Morrison have collaborated before on a Jules Verne story, 'Doctor Ox's Experiment' - also about Verne's interest in music and science.
Gerda Stevenson stars as the narrator, Anna. She's the church warden and mother of a child she christened Ian but who now has the new name of Ray because his special note is Ray sharp. She sees at first hand how the stranger brings his gift of music.
Anna ..... Gerda Stevenson
Irvine ..... Gerard McDermott
Kubiak ..... Renny Krupinski
Ray ..... Daniel Kerr
Mimi ..... Olivia Cosgrove
Oakham School Jerwoods Choir
Soloist, Dominic Hill
Conductor, Peter Davis
Organist, Thomas Chatterton
Sound Design, Mike Thornton
Producer and Director, Judith Kampfner
A Corporation for Independent Media Production
Availability: 6 days left to listen
Duration: 1 hour
First broadcast: Saturday 22 December 2012
Listen to the play here
Radio Times Review by Laurence Joyce
On a remote Scottish island a mysterious stranger is rehearsing the children’s choir for a Christmas concert. Sounds spooky enough, but this music drama from composer Gavin Bryars and writer Blake Morrison (after a tale by Jules Verne) also explores one of the oldest mysteries in sound. And when you hear that two of the children are called Ray and Mimi you might guess what that is. (Clue: think Julie Andrews.)
Bearsden actor rubs shoulders with Hollywood starsA talented young actor from Bearsden is going to appear in a Disney film next year with Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie.
Daniel Kerr (12) was on set with the star in London recently to shoot Disney’s ‘Maleficent’, a re-telling of the classic ‘Sleeping Beauty’ story from the perspective of the princess’s evil nemesis, Malificent.
The Bearsden Academy pupil also appeared in the popular BBC school drama series Waterloo Road last Thursday as a young boy called Ewan.
He is represented by Scream Management Kids agency and since joining them two years ago he has also landed a major role in a film called ‘The Wee Man’ about former Glasgow gangland figure Paul Ferris - Daniel plays him as a young man.
Directed by the Silver Rose award-winning director Ray Burdis, the sixties-based film will be screened next January.
Brought up in the notorious area of Blackhill, Glasgow, Ferris, the son of decent, hardworking, parents he learns that life on the street is tough. With a cast boasting names such as Martin Compston, Denis Lawson, John Hannah, and Patrick Bergin, this Carnaby International Feature Film follows Paul Ferris’s journey from childhood to manhood.
Daniel has also been working on Hat Trick Production’s Great Night Out which will air next January and he played the role of Decky in Touchpaper West’s series 5 of Being Human.
LEADING ROLE . . . Daniel Kerr on the set (above) of The Wee man - he plays the part of a young Paul Ferris.
Source (including photo): Milngavie & Bearsden Herald