Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Now Let Us Praise Two Creative Women -- One A (British) Composer, And The Other An (Iranian-Born) Visual Artist

"The lied [song] is one of those ephemeral genres, like the watercolour or the short story, that often appears on the endangered list and inspires initiatives dedicated to its preservation. The newest of these - the second biennial Leeds Lieder festival - had the slightly fanatical air of a convention of bird-watchers gathered for the sighting of a rare, exotic species.

They were rewarded with glimpses of a nightingale, a peacock and a hoopoe. Sally Beamish's new song cycle is inspired by the bird and animal poems of the 14th-century Sufi mystic known as Hafez, and has been devised in collaboration with the Iranian-born visual artist Jila Peacock. Peacock's printed version of the poems adapts the Islamic calligraphy to fit the physical outline of the creatures they describe, and Beamish brings an aural dimension to the allusive contours of the text.

Tenor Mark Padmore possesses a voice perfectly suited to the project: rich but supple enough to explore the nuances of the imagery. Beamish's writing is expressive: she introduces a gentle warble to imitate the song of the nightingale while a rippling accompaniment figure suggests the shimmer of peacock feathers. The final song adapts the onomatopoeia of the hoopoe's cry into a yearning, ascending triad." ...

Alfred Hickling "Beamish premiere/ Leeds Lieder Leeds" Guardian Unlimited October 15, 2007

Image credit: (c) Jila Peacock and 2007. All rights reserved. With thanks.


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