Paul Burnell

12 Nov 2015
'Accompanied Readings Vol. 1' album released December 2015
Accompaniments by Paul Burnell to texts published between 1886 and 1899

The first of two volumes of Accompanied Readings will be released on December 7.  'Accompanied Readings Vol. 1' includes settings of seven texts published at the end of the 19th century, including Oscar Wilde's 'The Ballad of Reading Gaol' and 'The Piano-Organ' by Amy Levy. The narrations are by Paul Burnell, with Karen Burnell narrating an excerpt from 'The Yellow Wallpaper' by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The instrumentation varies for each piece, and ranges from recorder quartet to electric guitars to percussion ensemble. The second volume is scheduled for release in 2017.
Each of the seven pieces is available on MusicaNeo and the details of each piece is given below.

Accompanied Readings Vol. 1

The Anarchists (Excerpt), an Accompanied Reading (2015) for percussion and narrator.  Text by John Henry Mackay (1864 - 1933).
John Henry Mackay was an individualist anarchist, thinker and writer. His book 'The Anarchists: A Picture of Civilisation at the Close of the Nineteenth Century' was published in German and English in 1891. It is a semi-fictional account of Mackay's year in London from the spring of 1887 to that of the following year, written from the perspective of protagonist and author surrogate Carrard Auban.  The excerpt used in this piece is from chapter six, 'The Empire of Hunger'.

The Phantom 'Rickshaw (Excerpt), an Accompanied Reading (2015) for strings and narrator.  Text by Rudyard Kipling (1865 - 1936).
'The Phantom 'Rickshaw' appeared in the short story collection 'The Phantom 'Rickshaw and other Eerie Tales ' by Rudyard Kipling published in 1888. In the story, the narrator spurns his mistress Mrs Wessington in favour of the young Kitty Mannering.  After Mrs Wessington dies the narrator begins to see a ghostly rickshaw carrying the departed ghost of his former mistress.

The Yellow Wallpaper (Excerpt), an Accompanied Reading (2015) for vibraphone or cimbalom or other instruments, 3 gongs, bass drum and narrator. Text by Charlotte Perkins Stetson - a.k.a. Charlotte Perkins Gilman - (1860 - 1935).
‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ is a semi-autobiographical short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, first published in January 1892 in The New England Magazine.  It is regarded as an important early work of American feminist literature, illustrating attitudes in the 19th century toward women's health, both physical and mental.

A Journey in Other Worlds (Excerpt), An Accompanied Reading (2015) for two electric guitars and narrator  Text by John Jacob Astor IV (1864 - 1912).
'A Journey in Other Worlds' is a science fiction novel by John Jacob Astor IV, published in 1894. Space travellers to Saturn encounter a world of silent spirits who provide the explorers with foresight of their own deaths.

The Piano-Organ, an Accompanied Reading (2015) for recorder quartet - sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor - and narrator. Text by Amy Levy (1861 - 1889).
Amy Levy was a British essayist, poet, and novelist. 'The 'Piano-Organ' was included in her poetry collection 'A London Plane-Tree and Other Verse’ published in 1889, the year of her death.  The accompaniment is an distorted version of part of 'An Der Elbe' by Johann Strauss II - published in 1898 one year before his death.

The Mystery of the Semi-Detached (Excerpt), an Accompanied Reading (2015) for piano or vibraphone or toy piano etc. and narrator  Text by E. Nesbit (1854 - 1924).
'The Mystery of the Semi-Detached' is a short story by Edith Nesbit, included in her collection of horror stories 'Grim Tales' published in 1893.

The Ballad of Reading Gaol, an Accompanied Reading (2010, rev. 2015) for ensemble and narrator.  Text by Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900).
‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol’ was written by Oscar Wilde in France on release from Reading Gaol in 1897 after being sentenced to two years hard labour.  During his imprisonment Charles Thomas Wooldridge, who had been convicted of murdering his wife, was hanged.  The poem was published in 1898 under the name C.3.3., which stood for cell block C, landing 3, cell 3.



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