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I am posting this as a benchmark, not because I think I'm playing very well yet.  The idea would be post a video every month for a ye...

Wednesday, June 3, 2020


I listened to a four CD box set of Germaine Montero yesterday. Not just the Lorca / Spanish folksong parts of the CDs. This particular set does not include all the Lorca material she did. I got an even better sense of her performance style and the range of literary and musical traditions with which she engages. She goes back to perform songwriters of other centuries, putting me in touch with traditions I did not know about.

I guess the upshot here is that, instead of viewing declamation as a slightly corny and mostly irrelevant aspect, I can consider it as part of the music.

People like Charles Bernstein and his collaborators on Close Listening do not pay a lot of attention to music per se, even though their subject is poetry as "performed word." But what if declamation and singing were simply two forms of performance? There are musical style, in fact, that are more declamatory: sprechstimme, recitative... A composer can write the instruction parlando in the score. These chanting, declaiming styles are common in Lorca adaptations.

Think of Zukofksy: Lower limit speech / Upper limit music. So poetry can be speech, but not merely speech, and music, but also "speaking music."

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