They started with the Rule of 3 – broken decisively and uncomfortably at Royal Central School of Speech & Drama where the SongArt performance research group were hosting their annual Symposium (Music &).
Who would have thought that Goethe’s dual repetition of Dahin in Mignon’s song would have been so roundly confirmed in the music of Beethoven – carved out painfully in his songs. How could we join in as we were exhorted to do by Alban Coombs and Amanda Glauert, without the 3rd repetition? And in “The Blessed Virgin’s Expostulation” an astonishing piece of drama by Purcell (sung on this occasion by Sarah Leonard) with so many resonances to modern society and the eternal anxiety of mothers for their children. Why does she call on Gabriel 4 times?
They went on to break more Art Song rules – firstly by calling themselves SongArt, and then inviting people to deliver poetry – simply spoken by the inspirational John Wedgwood Clarke. Let’s look at the rarefied atmosphere of conservatoires and wonder how the pure Art of Song is studied there – Folk Song rubbing shoulders with Wolf?
Paul Barker – as usual, threw the rule book out and gave us The Voice – was it Beckett, Avatar or just a really disconcerting, riveting performance….
And then we had 2 one person operas – one full of strong silent movement (Ignacio Jarquin) by Michael Finnissy and other – the polar opposite being engaged with sound – by Judith Bingham. That was why I was there.. to sing Mary Anning in a different way for me – starting with the music on a stand and finishing in full bonnet and Victorian dress in a sea of stones….. Thank goodness I don’t have to move those around again till the Edinburgh Fringe….
Oh and while we’re there – in Scotland I mean, let’s think of Mignon as the female Ossian and, given the rule of 3, the wonderful Michael Marra, Bard of Dundee – or is that just 2?
Minerva Scientifica – an evolving music-theatre programme reflecting the lives of British Women Scientists told through the music of British Women Composers.
With an emphasis on the scientific context within which women operated, the project sets out to examine the evolution of significant work by female scientists from history, and their impact and influence on women today who are following similar lines of enquiry.