It was hearing Hovercraft, the work commissioned and premièred by Kensington Symphony Orchestra in 2004 that inspired choreographer Wayne McGregor to approach Joby Talbot. Last year's resulting collaboration, the ballet Chroma, made headlines through its use of arrangements of songs by the White Stripes, the press being apparently unable to believe that anyone attending a performance at Covent Garden might have heard some pop music before, but it was Hovercraft that provided the climax of the evening. If KSO cannot claim to be entirely responsible for Talbot's seemingly unstoppable ascendancy, it is gratifying to think that the orchestra might take its place alongside Jack and Meg White as part of the inspiration for one of his most prominent successes.
Of Hovercraft, Talbot says: "Hydrofoils are nothing compared to hovercrafts. They might be cheaper and more reliable but where's the romance in a hydrofoil? I well remember my family's annual pilgrimage to Pegwell Bay in the 1970's to watch the hovercrafts come in from France; terrifying machines pounding across the ocean then remorselessly surging up the beach spouting great fountains of surf and with the noise of a thousand Lancaster bombers. Where did they all go?"