I became interested in incorporating poetry into musical performance after collaborating with a poet on New Years of 2013. We were gathered for a memorial service, and the organizer of the event introduced us and suggested that we perform together. We had not met ahead of time, and when we arrived at the event we did not anticipate creating together. The poet read and I created improvised musical highlights to his language. The unique artistic product that resulted will never be replicated, because of its absolute spontaneity. I do not remember any specifics of what we sounded like together. I do, however, remember the audience’s stillness and attention, and the atmosphere charged with emotion. I also remember many people after the performance telling me how moving it had been to experience. I look forward to creating a similar experience with Spring Fever.
In By Any Other Name’s upcoming performance Spring Fever: An Evening of Music and Poetry, we endeavor to explore the dialog between music and language. Many images and emotions evoked in poetry have abstract musical equivalents, and the two art forms, when placed side by side, have the ability to enhance one another. In this performance, we will match a spring-inspired poem to each piece: from Amy Beach’s explicit A Hermit Thrush at Morn, and Beethoven’s Spring Sonata, to more abstract examples of the joy of Spring, such as Bernstien’s Trio for violin, cello, and piano.
Additionally, By Any Other Name dedicated a portion of the program to improvise to poetry read by Hannah Barnard. The musicians will not know the poetry selections ahead of time, and will improvise musical responses to the language that they hear. Hannah will choose the sequencing of the poetry based on the suggestion of the music, creating a living dialog between the music and poetry as they interact with one another. We hope to involve audience members in this part of the performance. Anyone who brings a typed copy of a spring-inspired poem receives half off of the $10 admission price. We would like to encourage the more extroverted audience members choose to read their poem themselves, while the introverts among you may delegate reading responsibilities to a friend or a member of By Any Other Name. We hope to give the music and poetry a life of its own and experience its spontaneous unfolding.