Tag Archives: Sorley MacLean

Poetry at the Edinburgh International Book Festival

17 Jun

Liz Lochhead, Scotland's Makar

Poetry lovers have plenty to look forward to at the Edinburgh International Book Festival which has just announced its programme for August. With a range of writers chosen to reflect the fast-changing times we live in, political change, ecology and the internet, the festival aims to give a snapshot of life and literature in the 21st century.

As one of its major themes, the festival celebrates the centenaries of two poetry giants, Sorley MacLean (who was at the heart of StAnza’s Gaelic Focus) and Czelaw Milosz are the focus of Legends in Literature, a series of talks and tributes about the lives and poetry of these two major figures.  And three laureates will be present: Scotland’s new Makar, Liz Lochhead and the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, and the new Children’s Laureate, Julia Donaldson, who is the guest selector for the children’s programme.

The line-up of present day poets features Paul Muldoon, Michael Longley, Robin Robertson, and Andrew Greig, David Harsent, and Robert Bringhurst and eminent Polish poet Adam Zagajewski. Among the new voices are Rachael Boast, a StAnza volunteer for several years, whose first collection has just been published by Picador, and Ryan van Winkle, Reader-in-Residence at the Scottish Poetry Library, who hosted the Golden Hour at StAnza earlier this year.

The Scottish Poetry Library (who, like the EIBF are partners to StAnza), have brought their successful series ‘Nothing But the Poem’, offering people the chance to read poetry in depth, without prior knowledge, and in a relaxed environment. Join them for a relaxed hour at the Writers Retreat: subjects include, of course, Sorley MacLean and Czelaw Milosz.

Other treats include poets on their prose writing: Don Paterson talking about sonnets, John Burnside on both his new poetry collection, Black Cat Bone and his new novel set in the Arctic; and Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts praise the beauty of modern wastelands.

All this, plus the announcement of the winners of two major awards: the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Awards (which have on the shortlist, Stewart Conn and Jackie Kay), and the Edwin Morgan Competition.

Tickets for the Edinburgh International Book Festival go on sale, 28 June. The festival runs from 13-29 August. For programme and booking details click here

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StAnza stories: three young composers, three poems and a BBC broadcast

30 Mar

One of the StAnza ‘firsts’ this year – and there were several – was the premier of three new musical compositions, settings to three beautiful poems by the great Gaelic poet Sorley MacLean. The pieces were the winning entries in a competition held by StAnza along with the SCO and the University of St Andrews Music Centre. And they were performed for the first time on Sunday 20 March at StAnza, in the presence of the young composers, Matthew Oglesby, Elisabeth Cowe and Lliam Paterson (pictured left) and of Sorley MacLean’s daughter Ishbel. The musical settings were to MacLean’s own English translations of the poems, An Autumn Day’, ‘Under Sail’, ‘Dogs and Wolves’ and the Gaelic versions were read by Maoilios Caimbeul, the festival’s first ever Gaelic Poet-in-Residence.

The music was performed by the St Andrews Chamber Orchestra, with three guest soloists from the SCO (Alison Mitchell, Jane Atkins and Sharron Griffiths) and the soprano Lesley-Jane Rogers.

It was a unique occasion – and the BBC were there to record the music, to be broadcast tomorrow (Thursday 31 March) at 1.30pm on Radio nan Gaidheal. You will be able to listen again on i-player if you miss it live.

Here’s the link:

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Three young composers bring sweet music to StAnza

5 Feb

One of the highlights among many exciting events at StAnza this year will be a concert featuring the first performances of work by three talented young composers: winners of the Sorley MacLean musical composition competition.

All three winning pieces will be performed as part of a concert at StAnza on Sunday 20 March at the Byre Theatre, St Andrews, with the St Andrews Chamber Orchestra, three Scottish Chamber Orchestra soloists and the soprano Lesley-Jane Rogers. To complement the music, StAnza’s Poet-in-Residence, Maoilios Caimbeul, will read Sorley MacLean’s poems in Gaelic.  Tickets are available from the Byre Box Office, 01334 475000.

The competition winners are as follows:

Elisabeth Cowe (pictured) studied cello at Napier University and gained a Masters in Composition at the University of Edinburgh in 2010. She is currently working on a number of compositional projects and enjoying playing in a trio with two flautists. She said: ‘I was so pleased to hear that I had been selected as a winner in the StAnza competition. I am really looking forward to the concert and hearing my piece performed.’

Matthew Oglesby is a young composer based in Leeds. ‘Having come to orchestral writing after several years simply as a choral composer,’ he says, ‘I’m pretty shocked to find that I will actually have the opportunity to hear my work rehearsed and performed this year. I’m already grateful to the folks at SCO for their input and help so far, and I also look forward to working with the St. Andrews University Chamber Orchestra in the run-up to the March performance.’

Lliam Paterson (pictured) studied piano, horn and composition at Aberdeen City Music School and St. Mary’s Music School, Edinburgh, before starting studies in Music at Cambridge University (Fitzwilliam College) in 2009. He said: ‘Opportunities for young composers to have their works performed by world-class musicians are quite rare, so I’m very excited about having my song performed by the musicians and Lesley-Jane Rogers. As an admirer of Sorley MacLean’s poetry, I’m proud that my work will form part of his centenary celebrations – it is a chance to honour a great Scottish creative mind.’

There’s more about the competition and the winners on the SCO website: http://www.sco.org.uk/connect

Part of this year’s centenary celebrations of the birth of the poet, the competition was held in partnership with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the University of St Andrews Music Centre; with the support of the Garrick Charitable Trust; and in association with The Sorley MacLean Trust and Carcanet Press.

 

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