Credit for this spot goes entirely to Andy Hamilton, but what do you think? Was Mark-Anthony Turnage quoting Beyoncé’s ‘Single Ladies’ in his Proms commission, Hammered Out, given its premiere last night?
Turnage himself, in a brief interview before the Proms broadcast, references funk, especially Tower of Power, and r’n'b of the James Brown vintage. But intriguingly he also says
there are a couple of hidden things, but I’d quite like other people to find them out rather than me saying them.
Even more intriguingly, Anthony Burton’s programme note (which doesn’t mention Beyoncé) tells us that this passage is related to a climactic passage in Turnage’s forthcoming opera Anna Nicole (based on the life and death of Anna Nicole Smith).
So what do you reckon? Here’s Hammered Out on BBC’s iPlayer stream; the Turnage starts at 3:24.
And here’s Beyoncé:
What’s more – are there more references to be found? The Stravinsky-ish bit at 5:53 sounds like it might be something else, for example …
Update: 27 Aug, afternoon: Well, it seems that everyone agrees that the reference isn’t hidden at all, and I’m pretty convinced now that it’s a deliberate quote. But not one of the five major reviews so far published (Geoffrey Norris, Telegraph; Guy Dammann, Guardian; Michael Church, Independent; Barry Millington, Evening Standard or Edward Seckerson, The Arts Desk) spotted it. An unusual example of a new music audience ‘getting’ a new work much better than any of the critics?
Update 2: 31 Aug: The iPlayer and programme links will go offline soon (the BBC only posts them for a week after broadcast). But for downloads of both, and an extended review of the piece, please see 5 against 4. See also these two videos for a flavour of the work.
Update 3: I’ve written some of this story up for the Guardian’s Music Blog.