Crème Brûlée on a Tree

for voice and piano

Bushra El-Turk

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for voice and piano

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Composer Bushra El-Turk
Year of Composition 2018
Duration ca.6'
Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-bet1cbot1


‘the six-minute wonder that is Bushra El-Turk’s Crème Brûlée on a Tree is an unexpected little thriller that flies past using every possible sonority… the piece felt not only idiosyncratic but also – a serious rarity – properly witty.’

– David Benedict, The Arts Desk

‘Performed with wit and physicality by Giunta and Sikich, the piece (Crème Brûlée on a Tree) was perfectly balanced between challenging and entertaining its audience, and based on the raucous laughter and applause seems destined to become a hit.’

– Kevin W Ng, Bachtrack

Written in response to Bernstein’s settings of La Bonne Cuisine, Creme Brûlée on a Tree (2018) is a song based on American chef Andy Ricker’s durian custard recipe extracted from his book Pok Pok-Stories from the Streets, Homes and Roadside restaurants of Thailand. Native to South East Asia, durian is the world’s most forbidden fruit. Banned from use in public places and on planes, the late Anthony Bourdain describes it saying ‘your breath will smell as if you’ve been French-kissing your dead grandmother’ and the writer, Lindsay Gasik, describes it as ‘creme brûlée on a tree’. The composition material in this piece draws on both the gestures and visceral reactions involved in the cooking process.

Commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and first performed by mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta with Michael Sikich, piano, as part of the BBC Proms at Cadogan Hall on Monday 27 August 2018.