We are thrilled to present the first in a special series of podcasts to celebrate and share the work that is being created and showcased at Cyprus Well.
The series begins with Mac Dunlop, who is currently Mentor to our young Poet in Residence, Andrew Fentham. In the first podcast Mac introduces the piano recital by Marcelo Montes played on Charles’ piano. This beautiful introduction to the house is followed by an intimate recording of Andrew reading his own work followed by a discussion between the poets, a small audience introduced by our CEO, Jen McDerra. Our intention with these recordings is to draw on the lives and talents of those who come to Cyprus Well and share their experience of doing so with listeners across the globe. We hope you enjoy hearing the sounds of Cyprus Well and tune in each month to hear the latest installment. Now, over to Mac.
“In days gone by having a piano in the home was quite commonplace. To find a piano in a house – such as Charles Causley’s at Cyprus Well – these days feels relatively exotic. I like to play piano myself, and over the years have been inspired to think of their invisible character, not simply as pieces of furniture, but as instruments designed to reverberate with sound. Not only the sound they make when played, but the sound that surrounds them too. The sounds of daily life, conversations, all the things an instrument might absorb when we think it is otherwise idle, un-played, as it waits in anticipation of music in the silence of a home that isn’t really silent at all.” (Mac Dunlop, Mentor)
to a time when it was first tuned
the sounds of tested notes
reaching, slowly reaching
its first hesitantly hammered sounds
between the countless molecules
comprising each hairline strand in the black soundboard grain
those old disturbances of air
too far back in time for human ears
perhaps a dog
with more sensitive ears
could distinguish those long gone reverberations
and faintly hear that first strung infinity still,
those old ghost sounds with every hopeful wag of its tail
just as it might hear a bat echoing by
mapping itself in the dark
closing in on prey
while the history or sound
though a silent nothing to us
still fades unendingly
in the machines we make
“I thought it would be nice to offer up a sense of Charles Causley’s ‘writing space’ (for lack of a better phrase) by recording it in order to get some sense of the atmospherics of the place. I asked the composer and sound engineer Phil Innes
if he would come down and record a special poetry reading and recital at Cyprus Well so that we might capture some of the life of the house and celebrate some of the things Charles might have enjoyed here. We were also aware that the house isn’t that big, and you can’t get more than 10 people into the living room, so recording might be the best way to share the experience with more people, and give an impression of the place at the same time.”
“My partner Dr. Annie Lovejoy and I enjoy organising events and residencies. For several years have co-ordinated the Caravanserai Fireside Sessions on the Roseland in Cornwall (http://caravanserai.info) as well as working with the Falmouth based Independent School of Art (http://isaassembly.wordpress.com). On a recent trip to Portugal we met the young virtuoso pianist Marcelo Montes (http://thepoly.org/whats-on/event/262/marcelo-montes-piano-recital) and invited him to Cornwall for a short residency at our Blauhaus in Cornwall. It seemed a perfect opportunity to bring him to Cyprus Well to play Charles’s lovely piano, and create a small ‘salon’ style event. I’m very grateful to members of the Charles Causley Trust who supported us in making this event happen. As Marcelo’s recital and the poetry reading with the current Causley resident Andrew Fentham and myself is quite long, and listeners might be interested in particular sections (piano or poetry) I’ve separated it into four parts: The first section of Marcelo’s recital is in part one. In part two, Andrew reads his own work (which also includes a short discussion between myself and Andrew about his experience of translating poetry.”
Here is the first part of Marcelo’s recital at Cyprus Well in Launceston:
Andrew and Mac have been having regular chats and correspondence over the last couple of months as part of the Causley Trust Residency Program. It is their belief that sometimes meandering thoughts are the most fruitful to reflect on later. The written word after all is just making marks upon a page, but in doing so unveils things that left unrecorded might drift away…
“…the written offers us that attractive unfixed-ness of recording what one knows and knowing – or thinking of knowing – what someone else once thought.”
Here is the second part of the Salon Recital at Cyprus Well. A reading by the current writer in residence, Andrew Fentham, introduced by Jen McDerra, CEO of The Charles Causley Trust:
The third and fourth sections of the podcast are still to come, listen out in April for the second half of Marcelo Montes recital, and a collaboration between Marcelo and Mac combining poetry and piano, including an interpretation of ‘Trelissick Keys’ listed up at the beginning of this post.
Thanks again to all the supporters of this podcasting event, there is another one ‘in the can’ as they say, a recital in Causley’s house by members of the Seven Stars writers group, and lots more exciting content planned for the year ahead.
Mac Dunlop will be acting as mentor to poet-in-residence Andrew Fentham until his residency ends in April as well as aiding in various centenary celebrations throughout the rest of 2017.