"I am 3/4ths Canadian, and one 4th New Englander - I had ancestors on both sides in the Revolutionary war." - Elizabeth Bishop

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Our Wolfville Correspondent Writes --

In celebration of the Elizabeth Bishop Centenary, Musique Royale is in Wolfville at the Manning Memorial Chapel, Acadia University, August 23. The 7:30 p.m. performance is part of a weeklong tour of the province with soprano Suzie LeBlanc, violinist David Greenberg and the Tempest Baroque Ensemble, with guest harpsichordist Alex Weimann. Harry Thurston will recite excerpts from the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop during each performance.

Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979) is a Pulitzer Prize winner and one of the most acclaimed poets of the 20th century. She spent much of her childhood in Great Village, NS, at the home of her maternal grandparents. Although technically an American - she was born in Worcester, died in Boston and is buried in Worcester - Nova Scotia was the centre of her spiritual and aesthetic universe.

“At the Fishhouses” was inspired by a visit to Lockeport Beach in the late 1940s. A few fish houses are still in existence along the Long Cove Road. Bishop being an acute observer, the poem begins with a detailed description of a fisherman, netting, and his fishing tools. The end of the poem takes us away from the visible, where time and place dissolve and imagination takes over.

The flow of music and words at the concert aims to transport the listener to a new environment through the use of time, melody, harmony and rhythm. Interspersed with recitations by Harry Thurston, the musicians will perform works by Dowland, Purcell, Vivaldi, J.S. Bach, Mozart, plus a Cape Breton and Acadian medley arranged by David Greenberg, and The Silken Water is Weaving and Weaving by Alasdair MacLean.

The Elizabeth Bishop Centenary Arts Festival, August 19 to 21 in Great Village is a gathering of writers, musicians, painters, actors, filmmakers and other artists who will present wonderful readings, workshops, exhibitions and concert performances in celebration of the centenary of Bishop’s birth. The opening concert of Musique Royale’s At the Fishhouses tour is the final event of the arts festival.

Tickets for the Wolfville concert are $20 at the door, students $10. Call 582-3933 or click here for further information.

[from Wendy Elliot's report in the King's County Advertiser and Register, August 13, 2011.]

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