MUSIC written by a composer who lives in Wensleydale has its premiere this weekend.

Scoring a Century is David Blake’s fifth composition for the stage.

With libretto by Keith Warner and a full company of 50 performers, the production opened last night at the Crescent Theatre, Birmingham.

Mr Blake, who was born in London, has lived in Yorkshire for nearly 50 years, working as a lecturer in music. He became professor of music at York University in 1976.

He retired in 2001, and has lived at Askrigg for the past 25 years.

Scoring a Century is described as “low entertainment for highbrows, or vice versa”.

It tells the history of Mr and Mrs Jedermann, a couple of song and dance merchants who stumble through the momentous events, politics and social changes of the past 110 years, never ageing, and only begrudgingly developing.

Their sole aim is to provide songs and snatches of music to raise a laugh or provoke a tear.

From time to time, the action is interrupted by throughcomposed mini operas, which contain the serious imaginative heart of the show.

Mr Blake’s two previous compositions were commissioned by English National Opera and performed at the Coliseum, in London.

Robert Saxton, one of Britain’s leading composers, says of him: “David Blake is an example of an increasingly rare breed of creator.

“He has a technical range and command covering every aspect of composition. He is one of the few contemporary composers who still write powerfully expressive counterpoint and his melodic invention, ability to characterise musical ideas and his gift of music drama combine to make him a complete artist.”

The premiere has a cast of up-and-coming actors and singers from the Birmingham Conservatoire’s internationally renowned vocal and operatic department.

Performances continue tonight and tomorrow; tickets cost £12.

Kate Empsall