ENVELOPE SONGS 

A commission for 'Poet In the City' to create songs around Emily Dickinson's poetry.

An extract discussing the work:

'I first encountered Dickinson’s poetry some years ago through her poem ‘Hope is the thing with feathers’, which was a big inspiration behind my song Swallow’s Tune. What captivated me in Dickinson’s work was its unwavering optimism, but how these expressions of hope were always balanced with a preoccupation with notions of death and time (often by using old folkloric symbolism).

I’ve been reading a collection of Dickinson’s called ‘Envelope Poems’, which contains fragments of ideas, and distilled poetic miniatures all written on envelopes. I’ve been exploring these small forms, creating melodic ideas and musical fabrics that can be woven together to create longer, connected narratives that highlight Dickinson’s brilliant use of language. Fusing my background in folk music and ballad singing with experimental approaches, I’m hoping to bring to the surface the beautiful tension between Dickinson’s existential pessimism and patient hopefulness."

Created in collaboration with Ben Smith (contempoary pianist and composer).

Premiered at Kings Place Oct, 2020: 

https://www.kingsplace.co.uk/whats-on/words/emily-dickinson-success-is-counted-sweetest/