Composer and Middlesex University professor of music Benjamin Dwyer is launching his latest CD, inspired by the poetry of former Poet Laureate, Ted Hughes, at a special event in Hendon, north London.
Ten years in the making and scored for mixed ensemble and tape, Scenes from Crow is Dwyer’s personal musical response to Ted Hughes’s renowned Crow poems, published in 1970, which shook the English literary scene with their powerful and graphic language.
Celebrated recorder player Peter Wells will be on hand to perform music from the CD following the official launch by the Director of Diatribe Records, Nick Roth. Dwyer will also present a lecture on Scenes from Crow.
Originally from Ireland, Dwyer is a prolific composer, virtuoso guitarist and innovative researcher. He has performed worldwide and his music has been featured at numerous international festivals.
Scenes from Crow will be released as a CD and a digital download, which will be available through the Diatribe Records website.
First published in 1970, Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow is Hughes’s mythic poetry collection based on a Crow character, who is a shamanistic and trickster stand-in for man and humanity’s failings.
Crow is widely considered to be one of the most important poetic sequences of the 20th century, and draws on Hughes’s expansive breadth of language and reference—biblical, Greek, apocalyptic, comic—to explore themes that are mythic and elemental but also deeply relevant to contemporary thinking.
Through compositional processes that capture the poetry’s graphic elements, Dwyer’s Scenes from Crow attempts to embody the Crow poetry in sound, sonic imagery and mythic atmosphere.
Dwyer said: “Walking around with Ted Hughes’s Crow in your pocket is like walking around with a flick knife. That’s how powerful and dangerous this poetry is.
“I remember when I started reading the first few poems. I was immediately transfixed not only by the sheer ritualistic weight of the words, the repetition of phrases, but also by the shocking and visceral imagery: ‘Screaming for blood. Grubs, crusts. Anything. Trembling featherless elbows in the nest’s filth’. This was not refined verse, but poetry bent on revenge. I couldn’t put the book down. I still can’t.”
The event starts at 6pm in Middlesex University’s Concert Room, Grove building, The Burroughs, Hendon, NW4 4BT.
6-7pm: Lecture by Professor Benjamin Dwyer: 'Sing in my ear, O Littleblood’: Sonic Ekphrasis in Scenes from Crow'
7pm onwards Launch by Diatribe Records Director Nick Roth and performance of 'Crow Improvises' by Peter Wells, followed by buffet and CD sales