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2002 - The Harp: Music and the Oral Tradition

Love took up the harp of Life, and smote on all the chords with might;
Smote the chord of Self, that, trembling, pass'd in music out of sight
Tennyson (1809-1892)

Cambridge Music Conference
13 - 16 August 2002
Trinity Hall, Cambridge, UK

British composer Howard Skempton and Paul Hillier of Theatre of Voices will be returning to make similar contributions to this summer's music conference. Howard Skempton will be speaking on his own recent work "Horizons", composed especially for harp virtuoso Lucy Wakeford and oboist Virginia Shaw of Okeanos. Okeanos an ensemble of five have been invited to the conference to feature the harp.

Paul Hillier and Else Torp will be accompanied by Andrew Lawrence-King of  The Harp Consort performing "Ballads: Ancient and Modern" at Trinity College Chapel. Andrew Lawrence-King will give a lecture on "The Harp as a Universal Metaphor of Human Existence" and  Paul Hillier will speak on "The Modern Idiom of the Ballad". Paul Hillier and Andrew Lawrence-King will be conducting afternoon workshops for voice and harp.

Graeme Lawson is Director of Archaeologia Musica, Cambridge and works as a research archaeologist, instrument-maker, composer and performer; Graeme will focus on the harp in Anglo-Saxon times, introducing Beowulf and re-enacting part of the poem as it would have been experienced in the cultural context of  Sutton Hoo.

Anne Ayre will be returning to give afternoon workshops focusing on folk music, ballads and narrative.

Peter Hilken, who chairs the Cambridge Storytellers will speak on "The Art of Storytelling" and conduct afternoon workshops on "Storyteller as Performing Artist".

"Symphonic Fairytales" is a recent initiative in Denmark developed to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Hans Christian Andersen in 2005. Else Torp, the artistic director of "Symphonic Fairytales" will introduce the project and speak on 10 new works by Danish composers expressly commissioned to recapture and interpret Hans Christian Andersen's fairytales in music.

Christopher Clouder will lecture on "Narrative and Thought".

There will be an evening performance of eurythmy, in which Kosmos, led by Maren Stott, will present the dance of the imagination behind all narrative and the unique quality of music for the harp.

Cambridge Music Conference has commissioned two new works for harp by the American composer, Kate Waring: "Mythical Moments" and "Immortal Words". Kate Waring's composition 'Sappho's "Immortal Words"' especially composed for eurythmy, celebrates the metaphysical ideals at the heart of the conference bringing harp and narrative together.

Central to the conference is the guest appearance of the composer Judith Weir, who has not only agreed to attend and introduce her new composition "Really ?", but has also kindly accepted an invitation to speak on a particular aspect of her own work: "Narrative and Storytelling from the Composer's Perspective".


Cambridge Music

Conference features a unique performance of "The Collected Silences of David's Mother" (2000) by Don Mowatt composed especially for harpist Rita Costanzi. Don Mowatt will introduce his work, which is set in the desert community where the historical David grew up. It is a story told from the point of view of David's mother, who, the author imagines, taught David to play the harp and influenced his poetical and spiritual direction. The play is a series of stories and meditations on self-discovery, listening for the voice of God, accepting God's long silences and showing compassion for the troubles of others. It aims to be both art and meditation, reflecting on the words of Judaism, Islam and Christianity. The work combines images, sayings, metaphors and points of reference from all three Abrahamic religions.