Poetry began life as sung word, often in a religious context. So what a privilege to return to those poetic roots and have one of my poems set to music and performed as part of an evening of new compositions at the Actor’s Church (St Paul’s) in Covent Garden.
Out of Place is the brainchild of musician Nicola Burnett Smith, who sought out poems from contemporary poets and brought them together with a team of composers to create twelve very varied pieces. The result was a gala evening of new musical work including fun improvisation, classical composition, solo instrumentalists, wonderful readings by Annette Badland, acapella singing and some pretty acrobatic percussion work!
The composers (Gemma Storr, Sarah Woolfenden, Marianne Johnson and Nicola Burnett Smith) each chose poems that inspired them, then spent six months creating a great variety of responses. The chosen poets include Claire Booker, Dharmavadana, Alexander James, Anna Kisby and Samantha Pearse.
In front of a packed audience, the evening raised money for The Rory Peck Trust which supports freelance journalists working in hostile environments. For more information about the Trust or to buy an anthology of all the poems, including some not set to music, (all takings donated to the Trust) please email firstname.lastname@example.org or p hone 020 3219 7860.
The concert can be viewed by clicking: Out of Place concert (https://youtu.be/l90YRFlpOtU). If you need to fast forward to my poem (you’ll be missing some great music though) you can find it at 16.20 mins into the film.
To hear my poem read by Olivier-nominated actor Annette Badland (aka Hazel in the Archers!) please click: Audio of ‘Dancing Green’ (https://soundcloud.com/nicolaburnettsmith/sets/out-of-place?utm_source=soundcloud&utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=email)
A huge thank you to Annette Badland, the musicians and Nicola Burnett Smith for all her hard work and skill in taking my poem ‘Refuge’ and creating from it her piece ‘Dancing Green’ (clarinet-Nicola Burnett Smith, percussion – Gemma Storr, flute – Marianne Johnson, trumpet – Sarah Woolfenden, piano – Sarah Lambie).
What a great project to be involved in!