I Regret Your Sex
I Regret Your Sex c.14’
Earlier this year, I heard an interview on the radio during which the memorable phrase “I
Regret Your Sex” was revealed as having been in a letter to, highly qualified, woman
applying for a professional position with a company in Edinburgh, in 1949. Even for then, I
was quite shocked by the abruptness of this, especially when it transpired that this had in
fact been the first sentence of the letter, and related to the employer in question discovering
that in fact the applicant was a woman and not a male as had been thought.
Around the same time, I happened to see the news story revealing the worst explanations
for not appointing women to FTSE company boards most of which are very archaic,
shocking & insulting, though it could perhaps be questioned whether there are also
elements of truth in others, though these could easily be a personality rather than gender
When presented with a female vocal trio to compose for, the phrase “I regret your sex”
popped into my head again and I was reminded of coming across these things which had
made me think and thought about combining them in some way. Looking into things a little
further brought out some interesting facts such as that the number of female Chief Execs in
the FTSE 100 are still outnumbered by those named David!
It is not a feminist piece, (whatever people make take that to be these days - perhaps some
will still think it is… ) Of course it can relate to other fields, and my own questions/
experiences at times which I doubt male counterparts would experience. However, for me it
is more the playful telling of a story and current affairs, in a particular setting, which also
questions a few of the other issues arising around this for all genders.
With grateful thanks to the family who kindly allowed me to see a copy of the original letter
sent to their mother (they wished for her identity to remain anonymous).
The piece was commissioned by The Night With, for Vocal trio Juice, and is dedicated to
one of my best friends, Manila McLean - who has what it takes, even if it could be
"extremely complex” for a woman!
Instrumentation Genre Vocal
Duration 14 minutes
Instrumentation Soprano [1 player]; Mezzo-soprano [1 player]; Alto [1 player]
Performances of this work
|Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
|Juice Vocal Ensemble
|Hug and Pint, Glasgow, Scotland, UK
|Juice Vocal Ensemble
- Unusual Music Exchange w/ Ailie Ormston
- Elsewhere, Elsewhen - CD and Digital Album from Nordic Viola
- On a Wing and a Prayer
- Legato: Call for Early-Career Composers
- Echoes - Connections Crafting Eco-systems through Soundscapes Interactions: a participatory Sound-walk experience and Art conversation
- Call for Scottish Works - Nordic Music Journeys: Sweden and Scotland