Kate Frankenstein

for bass clarinet, trombone, violoncello, percussion, harp, piano and video (2018)

Commissioned by the Riot Ensemble with support from Nordic Music Days

According to family legend, recorded in a poem by my father, my great-grandmother was convinced that her cousin had been a victim of Jack the Ripper. While it was not true, her cousin did have the same first name as one of the victims and did live in the same East London slum. I invited the performers of the Riot Ensemble to gather at the spot where the victim was found for a short “performance” of the “death cry” of Alban Berg’s Lulu at the moment she is killed by Jack the Ripper. The recording of this act, along with recordings of the ensemble members reading and whispering the poem through their instruments, are analyzed and re-transcribed to create the instrumental score. By dissecting the traces of these crisscrossing stories, I hope to get to know my great grandmother, and to pay tribute to the intersecting histories she shares with other migrants and victims of violence in nineteenth-century London.