For last Thursday’s poetry event in the Netherbow, Henry Marsh asked me, did I have any Carver in my repertory? I had to admit I did not. One of his poems, about Mary, Queen of Scots at Fotheringhay, mentions Carver:

That endless fleeting night, elusive
as the scent of flowers, she’d touched
on moments of serenity, drifted in Carver’s
silver labyrinth – O good Jesus…
O sweet Jesus…

(The Guidman’s Daughter, p.92)

While I had no intention of even looking at Carver’s notorious 19 part mass, I did find a section of his 5 part mass, Fera Pessima, described by D. James Ross (Musick Fyne, p. 46) as being reminiscent of piobaireachd. While I can disagree with the comparison, I found this an acceptable fragment for reducing onto the harp, and so I played it after Henry read the Fotheringhay poem at the Storytelling Centre.

Here’s a recording I made of it today, while it is still up and running:

Harp music in the National Museum of Scotland

I am playing two special events in the gallery beside the Queen Mary harp in the National Museum of Scotland, Chambers St. Edinburgh, as part of the 26 Treasures series. The Queen Mary harp is treasure no. 8, and Sara Sheridan is the writer who has been assigned this treasure.

On Saturday 3rd December 2011, I am playing at the launch event, in the gallery beside the Queen Mary harp, four 20 minute performances at 12.30, 1.30, 2.30 & 3.30pm.

And on Wednesday 14th December 2011, at 10.30am, I am working with Sara Sheridan to present a childrens’ storytelling event about the Queen Mary harp.

Salve Splendor

In my Dundee class, we have been working on the Magnificat antiphon, Salve Splendor, from the 14th century Inchcolm Antiphoner, a manuscript of chant from the island of Inchcolm in the Firth of Forth.

Here are some recordings I have put together illustrating different approaches to this lovely little song.

First off, singing it straight off the manuscript page. Click here for the facsimile at Edinburgh University Library

And here are the words:

Salve splendor et pa-
Hail, glorious one and protector

-trone, iubar que iusticie. Orthodoxe doctor bone pastor et vas gratie. O Columba Columbine,
light of justice,correct teacher & good, shepherd and vessel of grace. O Columba, dove-like,

felicis memorie tue fac nos sine fine, coheredes glorie.
happy memories of you, give us without end, co-heir of glory.

And here is the recording:

Next, playing the song version though on the harp:

And finally, jazzing it up with some twiddles and drones: