Poetic License

Posted by on Dec 15, 2013 in Featured | 0 comments

Poetic License

Arrangements of Classical music are not uncommon and date back to the early history of the genre. Alexandra Pohran Dawkins, performance faculty at the UVic School of Music, has adapted many works for her instruments, the oboe and English horn. In her upcoming concert, Poetic License, the common model of transcription is taken one step further: selected poetry from the works on the program becomes the text in a final improvisation.

While some pieces will be played in their intended
instrumentation, including Robert Schumann’s gut-wrenching Romances (an oboe favourite) and the lesser-known Sonata No. 1 by Julius Röntgen, Pohran Dawkins has taken liberty with works by Robert and Clara Schumann and Dvořák. Lines are exchanged to accommodate her instruments, weaving seamlessly with soprano, Catherine Lewis, and Jane Hayes on piano, both of whom Pohran Dawkins has had long-time friendships and collaborated with extensively.

This tapestry of poetry and melody is more deeply intertwined as actor Jan Wood spontaneously draws from these texts, (poetry by Rilke and Rückert, Moravian folk poetry, and German translations of Spanish verses dating to 1511), influencing the path for the improvisation with Pohran Dawkins and Lewis.

The concert is not meant to be showy, but is rather one of dialogue and beauty (Pohran Dawkins describes Schumann’s In der Nacht, her muse for the program, as “one of the most beautiful things ever written”). “This really is a recital that is about communicating something,” describes Pohran Dawkins, whose strong connection with her colleagues will surely translate in the performance. “I can just look at Cathy or Jane and sense what either is going to do, ” she adds.

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