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Potter Thompson is musical drama in one act for tenor soloist, large chorus of children (or children and adults), instrumental ensemble, and 'noise orchestra' made up of small instruments, some hand-made. Potter Thompson is based on a legend of the mortal who finds the Sleeping Hero, begins to wake him, but stops short. The opera tries to discover why the Hero must always remain asleep. Gordon Crosse (born 1937) studied at Oxford with Egon Wellesz, after which he undertook postgraduate research into early 15th-century music and study with Goffredo Petrassi in Rome. Starting in 1964 Crosse held university appointments at Birmingham and Essex, and was for two years Composer-in-Residence at King's College, Cambridge. In 1976, the year in which he won the Cobbett Medal, he returned to his home in Suffolk, but in 1977 was Composer in Residence at UC Santa Barbara. Much of Crosse's work reflects his interest in the dramatic and literary arts, viz. his four operas (The Story of Vasco was premièred at the London Coliseum and Purgatory recorded by Argo); Memories of Morning: Night, for mezzo-soprano and orchestra, based on Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea; World Within, for actress, soprano and ensemble with a text taken from the writings of Emily Brontë; and Play Ground for orchestra, which was later used in Kenneth MacMillan's ballet first performed at the Edinburgh Festival. This collaboration continued in 1981 with The Wild Boy using Crosse's eponymous concertante for clarinet and eight players.
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