How poetry and piano came
& POET, Miroslava
Linda Sabbath (currently President of the Sacred Arts Council of Canada),
one day approached JW, looking for someone to compose music to go with
her poetry on sacred themes. JW proposed not composing, but improvising
new musical creations to correspond with her poems. The offer was
Each of the twenty poems provided
by Ms Sabbath was placed in turn on the piano. As JW read the poem
silently, music flowed through his fingers and onto the keyboard for a
corresponding length of time, and duly recorded on cassette tape (the only
recording medium he had access to at the time). He subsequently recorded
a reading of each poem, mixing it with the music track.
When Ms Sabbath heard the combined
result, she was surprised to discover aspects of her poems that had hitherto
eluded her notice. Similarly, the piano combined with the poems proved
a fresh revelation for the pianist. Indeed, it appears, in this case
at least, that the whole is more than the sum of its parts.
Linda Sabbath is an Ottawa iconographer, lay theologian, art teacher and
poet, as well as president of the Sacred Arts Council of Canada.
The following poems are from her collection Detour to Paradise,
published (informally) earlier in 2002 by Sasquatch Writers Performance
Series. For samples of Ms Sabbath's icon painting, please click here.
Two of JW's favourite Miroslava
Sabbath poem-piano combinations are included below as mp3 sound-files.
For a text version of these poems please click
JW later decided to try a similar
combination with two poems written by his wife, Susan Keyes Woodsworth,
this time with already recorded improvisations which seemed to be a perfect
complement to the poem. One of them, "The Universe, dance and me
-- continuing", combined with JW's improvisation "Thought crevices #3",
is given below in two variant recordings: (a) the original poem in English;
(b) John Woodsworth's Russian translation. For the text of the poem
please click here.
Enquiries from established producers/distributors