It is my great privilege to have been granted permission to set nine poems by Ted Hughes to music in order to create a new song cycle–melodrama for ’cello and baritone, bringing to life something of Hughes’s extraordinary Crow.
Outline plans are in place aiming to present three performances of this new work, in London, Cambridge, and Exeter, at events marking the 50th anniversary of the publication of Hughes’s Crow, in October 2020. The performances will be presented alongside talks about Crow and its influence, and possible opportunities to view some of Hughes’s manuscripts, and, in one of the venues, Leonard Baskin’s illustrations for Crow.
I will be working with ’cellist Ursula Smith and baritone Gareth Brynmor John in creating this work, workshopping and developing ideas as it progresses. Alongside this creative process, I am hoping to run an education project with a Devon school — my first education project — introducing pupils to Crow, exploring its curious and elusive protagonist, and looking at how it might be represented in music, art, and poetry.
I am hugely excited to have the opportunity of bringing this project into being, and to be able to work with Hughes’s poems, with the kind permission of the Hughes Estate. This Crowdfunder will provide some initial funding to get things going, allowing me to firm up plans, make the first inroads into writing the music, in consultation with the ’cellist, whilst applying for the fuller funding necessary. If you would like to help make this project happen, by making a donation — however modest — I would be so very grateful. Thank you!
If you would like to find out what my music is like, please visit my soundcloud page, https://soundcloud.com/dr-philip-lancaster/, where there are a few recordings available, the most recent being of the first performance of my canticle collaboration with poet Euan Tait, Miriam’s Exile (https://soundcloud.com/dr-philip-lancaster/miriams-exile). You can also find out more about me and my work on my website: www.philiplancaster.com.
Please do get in touch with me if you have any questions about this project or my wider work.
[The image featured for this project Crowdfunder is one of Leonard Baskin’s early Crows: Crow II (watercolour; 1958). Image from www.rmichelson.com.]