momo (children’s dance theatre)
Reddy was commissioned to write the music for momo in 1997 for the Jugendkunstschule Bodenseekreis and the Musikschule Markdorf on the occasion of the Stadtfest Markdorf 1997. Uli Vollmer, the commissioner, was then Head of the Musikschule in Markdorf, a town near Lake Constance (Bodensee) and not far from Konstanz. It was here that Reddy had moved to be with his partner Heike Asmuss, who lives in Konstanz. Momo was performed on the 30th and 31st of May and 1st of June 1997. It was an amateur production, the instrumentation of strings, clarinets and piano based on the availability of players at the Musikschule Markdorf at that time. Choreographer Carina Herold adapted the story from a well-known fantasy novel published in 1973 by German author Michael Ende, the full title of which (in English) is Momo, or the strange story of the time-thieves and the child who brought the stolen time back to the people. Herold selected episodes and wrote a libretto in which the story was read, acted, and danced.
Reddy composed the score in C-Lab on an Atari computer and the MIDI file generated from this gives a good idea of how the music sounded at the time of its performance. In 2006, Reddy re-notated the work in Sibelius, and this score forms the basis of the ACE publication. It comprises 14 short numbers plus recaps of four of those numbers but without the four piano solos that Reddy originally played in performance. Listening to the 1997 MIDI file and following the 2006 score, one can hear slight differences. For example, No. 9 (‘the grey men’s council of war’) fades out on the MIDI file whereas it has a ‘proper’ ending on the 2006 Sib file, and No 14 (‘finale: the village rejoices’) is a reprise of no. 1 on the MIDI file whereas on the 2006 Sibelius file it is a longer piece. This 2006 score has been minimally reformatting and repaginated by ACE to make it a continuous whole. An interesting feature of Reddy’s layout is that he placed clarinets above, piano in the middle, and strings below, as one would in an orchestral score. The music is accessible, syncopated, ‘clazzy’ in style, and many different aspects of the instruments are inventively explored. Although a children’s theatre piece, it might stretch the capabilities of amateur groups. It has a strong appeal to children of all ages, the fantasy element resonating with Reddy’s love of fantasy fiction and science fiction – Douglas Adams was one of his favourite authors – and it could be performed as a dance theatre or as a story-telling work in the same vein as Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, or as a musical suite. When downloading the score, a summary of the plot can also be downloaded, a sample of which is given below.