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Matthew Pollard Music Poetry

Minotaur

I don’t dwell much on past projects.  I’m always focused on the next thing.  On Friday I had a few beers with Glen Capra, and this reminded me of Glen and I recording my poem Minotaur, which had been set to music by Matthew Pollard, in one take back in 2011. I made this video afterwards, using a flip camera to get a labyrinth effect walking around in Brighton.  The poem’s hero doesn’t realise he appears monstrous to others.

 

Three Portraits for Poet and Piano

So I began rehearsals yesterday of the last two parts of Three Portraits for Poet and Piano. The first piece is Minotaur which is on the Clameur album. The second two have been finished this week and are new-born. I sat with Glen Capra yesterday going through them. Excellent music.

The second piece is called Ophelia, and has some beautiful resonant sinking chords. The final piece, Kafka is essentially comedic and ends with the piano lid being slammed. They will have their world premiere this Saturday. Here are the three poems they are based on.

Minotaur

Forehead gored by migraine;
pain has sharpened my senses.
I hear mosquitoes in the garden
there are clouds of them conspiring,
one for every promise.

You promised me this garden
somewhere private; somewhere lovely,
now it’s empty bar some black dog
whose hairs I find everywhere.
and still I sense it panting
among the sculptures, fin de siècle,
made by someone very clever.

Rose-choked, the garden walls break
over the cracked slabs. I tread petals
I make the divine slime of rose heads
the ecru of ex-white petal falls.

Or I listen to the radio
snorting with uncontrollable laughter
or I read my leisurely books
near the ornamental fishpond
the copper-coloured fishpond.

The one I can never look in.

Ophelia

You write your name on water
And then you sink
A wet halo shrinks
Around your face
And you sink
Lips last.

Ophelia
Why didn’t you float like the others?
Why didn’t you drift downstream with a glut
of Pre-Raphaelite flowers?

I’m terrified that you’ve stopped breathing
or that you gulp the dim, death-gladdening murk
Where everything’s refracted
Bending the sticks and searching arms.

For you are not where you seem to be
And your ears are full of sand
And there’s a stone in your soul so big
I’m not sure if you want me
To lift you up or hold you under.

Kafka

I fell asleep—as normal—then kerpow!
Those puff-cheeked cherubs of wind and fate
changed me to a cockroach again.

I discover everything about me’s wrong:
the carapace, nauseating wings,
spitty, finger-faced mandibles, while
my unspeakable eyes compound it all.

Choking, I dodge her frantic death sprays,
the savage clubbing of her broom
to skitter across the beer-sticky floor.

All I asked of fate was a fair wind,
a simple swoosh of a butterfly’s wing
would have sufficed. Instead
dear God! it’s come to this: crunch time.

Clameur: The Words

After some humming and hawing Matt and I decided not to include the words as part of the CD packaging. However the booklet is available as a free download on the Pollard & Kenny site.

It contains all the words for This Concert Will Fall In Love With You, Clameur and Minotaur.

Minotaur

Here is a video I shot for the short track Minotaur on my forthcoming CD with Matthew Pollard called Clameur. Whipped quickly around Brighton with my flip camera. Rather pleased with the result…

Amazed

So rehearsals for the Clameur CD continue apace. Last night I heard the song Clameur sung for the first time by a choir and it was an emotional moment. Matt’s music is brilliant, and to sit in a room in Brighton hearing a song with my words about Icart Point in Guernsey seemed a like a dream.

Matt has decided to drop Adam from these recordings and we have set ourselves the challenge of turning around another piece very quickly. This is likely to be Minotaur and will be based on an old poem of mine. Matt and I have had some interesting discussions about the relationship between the words and music. For there are some God-awful experiences of poetry combined with music. There has to be a balance between the music illustrating or commenting on the words, and creating an environment for the words. In the Minotaur piece, we are discussing the idea of being more contextual, that the music creates the maze in which the minotaur finds itself. Here is the poem.

Minotaur

Forehead gored by migraine;
pain has sharpened my senses.
I hear mosquitoes in the garden
there are clouds of them conspiring,
one for every promise.

You promised me this garden
somewhere private; somewhere lovely,
now it’s empty bar some black dog
whose hairs I find everywhere.
And still I sense it panting
among the sculptures, fin de siècle,
made by someone very clever.

Rose-choked, the garden walls break
over the cracked slabs. I tread petals
I make the divine slime of rose heads
the ecru of ex-white petal falls.

Or I listen to the radio
snorting with uncontrollable laughter
or I read my leisurely books
near the ornamental fishpond;
the copper-coloured fishpond;

the one I can never look in.

One of the consequences of having is a CD is that you need a label. And I am going I think to create one. This idea leads to the idea that with a label we could include other acts, which is why I find myself in exploratory talks with Richard Gibson of The Shakespeare Trio, who have embarked on a project of putting Shakespeare’s sonnets to music. I am a big fan, and theirs is another high concept project, not unlike the work Matt and I have collaborated on.

I also think good Karma is important, and I have talked to The Sussex Beacon about donating a portion of the income to them. In return they are able to give us another platform to publicise the event. My background in considering ethical partnerships between charity and a business led to this idea.

Below Matt conducting singers.