Monday, September 30, 2013

Concert: O Maria Virgo - Kantika

I'm afraid I can't remember if I mentioned it here or not: I joined a Parisian vocal ensemble for medieval music - Kantika, directed by my friend and colleague, Kristin Hoefener. We gave a concert in Speyer on Friday night. It was part of the concert series "Via Mediaeval - Music and Spaces of the Middle Ages", which in turn is run by Stefan Morent, with whom I worked extensively about 7 or 8 years ago.

Part of the Speyer Cathedral crypt
Our program in honor of the Virgin Mary included music in 2 or 3 parts from the Codex Las Huelgas, one of the most important manuscripts of Spanish sacred music, and Gregorian Chant done in the Spanish style. It was arranged as a Mass might have been sung around the 1300. As encores 2 of our singers, Carlotta Buiatti and Sandra Bessis, who are both well-versed in arabic singing styles sang a Sephardic Lullaby and then we sang a 3 part piece by John Dunstable, which is from the new program we're preparing.

The crypt

Where we sang most of the concert
We sang in the crypt of the Speyerer Dom (Cathedral), which is enormous and the acoustics are lovely for medieval music. The reverb disappeared a bit when the crypt was filled with people but was still quite wonderful. We used the space a bit, processing in with the first piece, doing an antiphonal Gloria from opposite sides of the crypt and Marianne and I sang the Alleluia from the back.

SWR Radio recorded the program but we don't know when they'll air it. I'll post it when it goes on the air.

A nice little bonus doing this concert was seeing Stefan Morent again (he attended the concert). Unfortunately, he is no longer doing women's ensemble stuff, but sticking to men's ensembles so that he can sing along. It was also nice seeing another of the presenters (whose name I regret not having asked after, since I've long since forgotten it and now I can't find it online), who took care of Elysium when we sang in the same festival when it was called "Vokalmusik entlang der Romanischen Strasse" ("Vocal music along the Romanesque Road"). Also, Christoph Prégardien, Tenor, sang a song in the Cathedral Thursday night and stayed at the same hotel as Kantika. We saw him at breakfast on Friday and had a nice conversation. I attended a course he gave on German Lieder way back when (1996?) in Georgsmarienhütte, Germany during the "Tage Alter Musik"(Osnabrück). He pretended to remember me. Very sweet.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Amazing Stories: Poetry Round-up September 2013

I thought I'd try something new with this week's Amazing Stories blog post about Science Fiction Poetry. I found many good poems inn a quick search of the web and a couple of things I've come across through-out September and compiled them into one article for your reading pleasure.

Here's a snippet:

Strange Horizons has a long history of publishing good speculative poetry. A few poems from this weekly online magazine make it onto the Rhysling Award ballot each year. This week gifts us with a beautiful poem by Mari Ness (whose poetry has appeared on my podcast Poetry Planet): “The Loss”.
To read the full article go here!


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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Concert: Mozart "Credo Mass" and CPE Bach "Magnificat"

On Sunday, 22 September 2013, I sang in Dillenburg, Germany at the Catholic Church. I sing there a lot, on average once or twice a year. This time it was CPE Bach and Mozart on the program.

The Mozart is a lesser known piece but quite wonderful. The solo-quartet has bits woven throughout the mostly choral setting of the traditional ordinary mass parts. There are no arias or long completely solo lines, but the effect is gorgeous. We soloists stood among the choir (in a row together in the front however) and so our voices just emerged from the choir.

I've longed to sing the "Magnificat" by C.P.E. Bach for many years. It's a spectacular piece. Quite brutal, um, I mean high for the choir and the soloists. The choir, the Bezirkskantorei Dillenburg, was in fine form, as were the other soloists: Sybille Kamphues (Alto), Hans-Jörg Mammel (Tenor) and Wolfgang Weiss (Bass). I on the other hand was a little compromised, such that it was a bit of a struggle to get through the concert. But I hope it wasn't too noticeable... I have an appointment with a specialist next Monday, hopefully it won't be anything too difficult to fix. :-(

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Amazing Stories - More Awards! The Rhysling Award

So, did I say it was awards season? But with WorldCon in San Antonio, TX just past you'd know that. That is, if you are interested in Science Fiction in any manner. But if you aren't you probably aren't reading this! Let me know in the comments if you get to the end, despite having no love for Science Fiction! :-)

The Rhysling Award for 2013 was officially announced at WorldCon and I've posted an announcement of my own and a discussion of the two winning poems at Amazing Stories Magazine.

Here's a snippet:

However, the main thrust of this post is about the Rhysling Award, the Science Fiction Poetry Association's award for poetry in two length categories: short (under 40 lines) and long (40 lines and over). As per the rules only SFPA members are entitled to vote, so it's more like a Nebula Award than a popular award, but if you are interested in helping choose the best SF Poetry becoming a member is very easy and quite inexpensive, especially if you are willing to read the association's journal Star*Line as a PDF instead of in print. I urge you to check it out.

This year's winners were gleaned from a selection of 110 poems (70 short and 40 long). which could be found in 57 different print, online and audio publications. Kudos go to Star*Line, Goblin Fruit and Stone Telling with 11, 9 and 7 poems nominated respectively.

I will be producing an edition of Poetry Planet for StarShipSofa showcasing the Rhysling Award winning and placing poems, much like I've done in the past 2 years. I hope you'll listen! It's always a wonderful way to get fresh insight and deepen your understanding of a poem. But I'm not biased at all.
Terry A. Garey's winning short poem, "The Cat Star", published in the anthology Lady Poetesses from Hell (Bag Person Press) won by ....
Go to Amazing Stories for the whole article! Enjoy!

And if you don't normally read Science Fiction I'd like to encourage you to read this blog post by Nina Munteanu about "When Science Fiction IS Science Fiction". She does a great job of illustrating what it is about SF that I love and what motivates me to read it. Let me know what you think!

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Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Poetry Planet No. 10 - Elgin and Dwarf Stars Awards Showcase

Poetry Planet is back!

After 8 months, it's embarrassing to say, I've finally produced another Poetry Planet. This is the 10th one. You may (or may not) be wondering what happened to No. 9. Well, way back with the Time Travel episodes, I did something ridiculous and numbered that split episode Nos. 5a and 5b. And then went on with No. 6 etc. However, there have, in fact, been 10 episodes, so I'm going to remedy that now!

This 10th edition of Poetry Planet is dedicated to the recently announced winners and placers of both the new Elgin Award and the Dwarf Stars Award in Science Fiction Poetry awarded by the Science Fiction Poetry Association.

You'll find it on in episode No. 303 at about the 01:17.0 marker. As usual, you can listen to it on the site itself, or download it on iTunes or your usual podcatcher.

Linkety linkage:

You'll hear a poem from each of the best chapbook length collections (Elgin Award):

And a poem from each of the full-length collections (Elgin Award)

The top 3 Dwarf Stars Award poems

3. "Sarcophagus", (inkscrawl 3) N.E. Taylor,
2. "The Hidden", from Lovers & Killers, Mary Turzillo and
1. (Winner) "Basho after Cinderella (iii)", (Rattle 38), Deborah P. Kolodji

Please follow the links to their websites and/or books and check them out!

I had the pleasure of reviewing each of the collections, which placed in the Elgin Award on Amazing Stories. If you would like to check out those reviews please go to my author page.


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