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Beyond the Lyric Colloquium : November 3rd 2008

Beyond the Lyric: a colloquium

For poets, composers and commissioners

CAPITAL Centre, University of Warwick,

11am to 5.30pm, 3 November 2008

The practical connection between music and poetry is as old as song itself. But what, if any, is the link between language and abstract musical form? Musicians traditionally approach poems as texts for setting to music. Poets tend to associate musicality with metre and strict form: qualities which they assume make a poem “fit” with music. Is there any deeper, qualitative affinity to be found between poetry and music, either in rhythmic temporal structures such as line, or through more nebulous attributes including openness of “meaning”? How might an interest in music influence a poet – and vice-versa? How can such influences be best articulated in writing about and teaching poetry or composition?

Practitioners and academics were invited to participate in a colloquium on this under-explored topic. Contrasted presentations gave structure to the event. This was not a conference but a discussion day for committed, expert writers and musicians – as well as those involved in composition, creative writing, musicology and English studies.

Speakers/performers were:

  • Fiona Sampson, Sally Beamish and the Coull Quartet on a new commission for voice and string quartet
  • David Harsent on collaborating with Harrison Birtwistle on Gawain and The Minotaur – and other libretti
  • Steve Goss, Alan Brownjohn and Ruth Fainlight on the influence of music on their own work
  • Don Paterson on music as poetics

For the full programme click here.

30th Anniversary Concert by the Coull Quartet

The day concluded with a concert by the Coull Quartet to mark the 30th Anniversary of their residency at the University of Warwick.


Fiona Sampson

In association with:

The Coull Quartet