Victorian Fayre

William Barnes Society Fund-Raising Event to celebrate the life of William Barnes the Dorset dialect poet.

Saturday 24th February 2018

John Blackmore captivates Society members

By Marion Tait

John Blackmore
John Blackmore

Following the recent William Barnes Society Annual General Meeting, held on Tuesday 10th October, John Blackmore presented 'Music and Song' to the audience.

John Blackmore's settings of William Barnes' poems originally formed a part of his undergraduate dissertation "West country Sound and Song". Inspired by Vaughan Williams' settings, John sought to return William Barnes' poems to popular consciousness through music, specifically for a twenty-first century audience.

While Vaughan Williams' piano and vocal arrangements have a distinct classical flavour, John uses guitar and voice to create a warm, folk-song feel, which certainly match Barnes' 'Hwomely Rhymes' In fact, made for each other.

During his performance, John drew attention to the musicality of Barnes verse and the beautiful but complex rhythms and structure that make Barnes work distinctly Dorsetian. Despite many of Barnes' poems sharing the five stanza structure, each of eight lines, John highlighted with sensitivity how the context and focus of Barnes' poems varied greatly, and demonstrated how he took this in to account with his settings.

John's song "Blackmwore Maidens"  "Blackmore by the Stour" sounded softened and gentle while "The Geate a-vallen to" setting was so meaningful, and sent emotional shivers down your spine. Both these poems were similar in style and structure and so very beautiful.

John also previewed a new Barnes setting: "The Stagecoach". He had visited his Irish roots to 'get a lilt' going.  Here John recreated the driving rhythm of the wheels: went swiftly roun' rottle roun' trundle roun' truckle roun’. You could truly visualise the stagecoach on its journey through all seasons "while the whip did smack and the whip did crack on the ho'ses' back"
It certainly was a toe-tapping composition with all feet tapping along enthusiastically.

Keeping with similar momentum John finished his performance with "Gone to London" which he had written for his brother who had left the countryside for the bright lights of London.

All too soon the 'Music and Song' came to an end. It had been a real privilege and pleasure to have shared the experience of listening to such a talented young musician as John Blackmore whom I'm sure would have thrilled William Barnes.

OCT 2017

John Blackmore captivates Society members
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Forthcoming events

Victorian Fayre William Barnes Society Fund-Raising Event to celebrate the life of William Barnes the Dorset dialect poet. Saturday 24th February 2018
What’s the point of William Barnes in 21st Century? For the many years of the dominance of Received Pronunciation (RP) it was easy to see William Barnes as an irrelevant eccentric. With more recent developments in linguistics, and a growing interest in national and regional diversity, it may be time for Barnes to reclaim his place as a significant figure in the world!! Dr Richard Bradbury will also discuss his more socially engaged prose works. Tuesday 27th March 2018
Annual Service of Remembrance of William Barnes Morning service, with dialect reading and wreath laying at William Barnes and and his daughter Laura grave Sunday 22nd April 2018
The Serpent and it’s Local Connections Come an listen to musician, Philip Humphries talk on the history and development of the strange bass wind instrument known as the 'Serpent' due to its curious shape. This talk will be interspersed with music and poetry. Tuesday 15th May 2018

Latest news

Come, so’s, an’ buy at Fancy Feäir Traditional Victorian Fayre, a William Barnes Society Fund-Raising event to celebrate the life of William Barnes, Dorset dialect poet Monday 19th February 2018
William Barnes and My Father Sam Jeffrey has very kindly donated The Poems of William Barnes Edited by Bernard Jones Vol 1 in Dorset Dialect and The Poems of William Barnes Edited by Bernard Jones Vol 2 in National English to the Society. Sunday 28th January 2018
John Blackmore captivates Society members Following the recent William Barnes Society Annual General Meeting, John Blackmore presented 'Music and Song' to the audience. Sunday 15th October 2017
Service of Remembrance to William Barnes On Sunday 8h October 2017 10:30am, at St Peter’s Church, Dorchester, the Morning Service to commemorate the anniversary of the death of William Barnes took place. It was followed by a wreath laying at the statute. Monday 9th October 2017

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