Tag Archives: Nancy Gaffield

Three events commemorating World War One next week: Memorial Ground, Last Post and Lunchtime Concert

As part of the Music department’s observing of the anniversary of World War One, including the Battle of the Somme, three events next week.

memorial-ground1On Thursday 10 November, a special performance by the Cecilian Choir, conducted by Your Loyal Correspondent, commemorates the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme with  a new choral piece written by American composer David Lang in Studio 3 Gallery. Memorial Ground is an evocative, haunting meditation on the Battle of the Somme, but also reaches beyond it to commemorate all those who have lost their lives in conflict ever since. The piece was commissioned as part of the nationwide 14-18NOW project.

David Lang
David Lang

As part of a national series of performances, Memorial Ground is the Pulitzer-prize-winning composer’s response to the anniversary, written in such a way as to allow choirs around the country to realise the piece in whatever way is appropriate to their occasion. For this performance by the Cecilian Choir, the piece will be combined with words by the First World War poet, Siegfried Sassoon, as well as with a new poem written by Nancy Gaffield, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing in the School of English. The performance will be illuminated by a series of projections from the Special Collections and Archives department in the Templeman Library, curated by Joanna Baines. This sepcially-crafted son et lumiere event begins at 1.10pm, and will last approximately twenty minutes; admission is free – if you can’t make it, the event will be streamed live online here.

On Friday 11 November at 11am, third-year Music Scholar and trumpeter Alex Reid will play the Last Post in the Registry Garden; this is followed at 1.10pm by a lunchtime concert  focusing on poet and composer Ivor Gurney. Arranged by Dr Kate Kennedy, the event dramatizes Gurney’s life as musician, soldier and eventually asylum patient, following his progress in his own words and music, with humour and poignancy.

From the start of next week, Colyer-Fergusson Gallery will host an exhibition produced by the Gateways to the First World War Project exploring music during the conflict, which will be on display until Friday 25 November.

Find out about all these events and more online here.

Exploring the world of Hiroshige’s Tokaido Road: new chamber opera comes to Kent

Currently touring the UK after a successful premiere at the Cheltenham Festival last year and its recent London premiere at Milton Court Theatre, we are very pleased to be bringing the chamber opera, Tokaido Road: a journey after Hiroshige, to Kent on Saturday 23 May.

gaffield
Nancy Gaffield

The chamber opera, an evocative fusion of music, poetry, art, mime and photography comes to the University in a few weeks as part of the University’s fiftieth anniversary celebrating the work of members of the University community; the libretto is written by Nancy Gaffield, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing in the School of English, and is based on her own award-winning cycle of poems of the same name. Commissioned by frontier-challenging Okeanos Ensemble, and composed by Nicola LeFanu, the work is inspired by Hiroshige’s 53 Stations of the Tokaido Road, a series of woodblock prints evoking the Japanese landscape and its people along the ancient route linking Edo and Kyoto. The chamber opera sees Hiroshige reflecting on life, love and loss on his journey along the Tokaido Road, unfolding against a backdrop of projected images of both Hiroshige prints as well as photos of modern-day Tokyo.

Hiroshige_ShinagawaThe score combines Western instruments with Japanese sho and koto, and the first half of the performance sees members of Okeanos perform traditional Japanese music.

 

50th-ribbon-smlCome along The Road when it arrives at the Gulbenkian Theatre on Saturday 23 May; details and tickets here. You can find out more about the chamber opera, including image galleries and audio extracts, here.

This floating, fleeting world: in rehearsal

As a curtain-raiser to the performance of Tokaido Road, which comes to the Gulbenkian Theatre on 23 May, the lunchtime concert the day before is an exploration of the meeting-point between poetry and music for two pianos, set against a backdrop of some of the Hiroshige prints which inspired both poetry and opera.

Pianists Matthew King and myself, together with poet Nancy Gaffield, part of the Creative Writing team in the School of English and author of the original Tokaido Road cycle of poems, spent yesterday exploring the programme which we have put together, which intersperses music by Debussy, Ravel and Matthew himself with poems from the cycle, which Nancy will be reading. There is some wonderful connectedness between the words and the music – a phrase in a poem is echoed by a rising melodic shape; the opening arc of a poem emerges out of a slowly-dying piano chord; a cluster-sonority echoes the tone of one of the Hiroshige prints which is projected above the performers. We spent several hours immersed in floating words and chords in the darkened concert-hall, playing with moving between music and poem.

The concert will take place on Friday 22 May at 1.10pm, admission is free, more details here: come and immerse yourself in time-out-of-place with music, poetry and print.

Wise Words Festival next week

The written and spoken word is celebrated next week, as Canterbury comes alive to the Wise Words festival.

Ian McMillan
Ian McMillan

Back for a second year, running from Thursday 12 – Sunday 15 September, the festival sees poets such as Sir Andrew Motion reading from his new collection, The Customs House; the Bard of Barnsley and presenter of Radio 3’s The Verb, Ian McMillan, will be here next Friday, in collaboration with composer Luke Carver Goss.

Three of the University of Kent’s poets from the School of Creative Writing will also be participating; award-winning poet Nancy Gaffield will be leading a workshop on poetry and the journey, in the wake of her prize-winning collection Tokaido Road, and Dorothy Lehane and Patricia Debney will also be featuring in the festival.

gaffield
On the road: Nancy Gaffield

Canterbury Laureate Dan Simpson will be presenting a crowd-sourced poem celebrating the city, and there’s also an array of events for families and children, many of which are free to attend. Poets and story-tellers will be popping up in surprising locations around Canterbury, including in a yurt in the Franciscan Gardens; or take a punt on the river to explore myths, legends and fairy-tales in the company of Emily Parrish. Join poet John Siddique free each morning at Browns Coffeehouse for his daily journal-writing session; the Three Cities Garden will be full of mystery, wonder and story-telling; or re-discover the lost art of exploration with explorer, navigator and broadcaster Tristan Gooley.

Find out more about next week online here; promising to be a festival that “re-awakens wonder and encourages curiosity,” you won’t be disappointed.

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