Thursday, 7 November 2013

R.W. Evans: Bloomfield songs in performance

Wednesday 16th October 10.30--11.00 am
Recital Room NIE 03-01-01
The poetry of Robert Bloomfield: an illustrated lecture by Angus Whitehead
with musical settings of the poetry by R. W. Evans performed by
Joanne Liu, soprano
Peter Stead, piano

With the publication of the Farmer’s Boy in the spring of 1800, ladies’ shoemaker Robert Bloomfield dramatically outsold contemporary volumes of poetry such as Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads. Indeed throughout the nineteenth century Bloomfield remained a highly popular poet, his shorter poems being regularly set to music. By the turn of the twentieth century, however, Bloomfield had been forgotten. Only in the last decade or so has a serious reclamation and reappraisal of this vibrant labouring class poet begun.

In this short lecture, illustrated by performances by singer Joanne Liu accompanied by Peter Stead, Angus will explore the story behind composer R. W. Evans’ 1824 settings of Bloomfield’s poems, ‘The Dawning of Day’, ‘The Maid of Landoga’ and ‘The Flowers of the Mead’ and their first publication as part of The Remains of Robert Bloomfield, an ultimately unsuccessful project to raise funds for the late poet’s impoverished family. Excitingly, this lecture will mark the first occasion that these songs have been performed in over a century.

Dr Angus Whitehead is Assistant Professor, National Institute of Education, Nanayang Technological University, Singapore.

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