Friday, 10 December 2010

Widsith and Deor Present...

A good Christmas radio show (less errrr....s) as of course the topic was much more straightforward than abstraction! which was last show's theme). Deor did brilliant and moving versions of Hild, Queen of the Elves - an old Icelandic folktale set at Christmas, and Dicken's 'The Chimes'. The latter is one of those social comment / searing indictments that unfortunately don't date, as news and social policy cycles come round again! So he did it as an excellent then/now part contemporary interpretation, with all Dicken's critique of his own time and its latterday parallels. It's a less well known Dickens' Christmas story than 'A Christmas Carol', but it always has me sniffing into a hanky! We played some wonderful Medieval music, including salterellos, ancient and modern, and also an artist recently featured on Radio 3 - the amazing Cecilia Bartoli, who amongst other projects has released an album of C18th Baroque castrati music called 'Sacrificium', as she sings their roles! Girl sings boy in pretending-to-be-girl roles... Her voice is superb and her projects both historical and sensational as well as seriously worthwhile, bringing neglected music out from under the floorboards and breathing life into it.
   I read/live edited/slightly extemporized a story of mine with a folktale structure called 'Coppelia' which I once told at the Storyclub as a folk story, and hence set it in winter, which seemed to work, so told that variant. Lastly, I read half of Michael Alexander's translation of the extraordinary Anglo-Saxon poem 'Dream of the Rood' from the point of view of the Cross which bore Christ, which also seemed appropriate for a Christmas special. We talked a bit about the history of Christmas / winter festivals, and how even before Christianity, evergreens, lots of food, drink, fire and lights were a common feature, and all in all, I felt it went more smoothly than some, (despite taking over from 'Myriad' the automated system, on arriving, and the lights being so dim it was hard to read!). It's been uploaded to YouTube and is available to 'listen again' at the 'Widsith and Deor Present...' google site (links to the right) for anyone who missed it and would like a listen.

To hear samples of Cecilia Bartoli, see video, order music, etc., check out;