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1.) ruffian or hooligan
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French A-pash [noun]
The Seafarer for piano trio and narrator
by Sally Beamish
The Seafarer Trio by Sally Beamish was pretty much the first work Trio Apaches performed together, and it played a key role in enthusing us to form an official group. Put simply, we fell in love with the communicative power of this unique score; it's compelling even without the spoken verse (dramatically translated by Charles Harrison Wallace) and quite overwhelming with a narrator onboard (excuse the pun).
About the The Seafarer poem, by Charles Harrison Wallace
After Beowulf, The Seafarer is perhaps the most famous of all Anglo-Saxon poems. It belongs to a group of lyric and elegiac poems, all quite brief, all extraordinarily powerful and direct. They are found in one manuscript, the Exeter Book, dating from the early tenth century, in Exeter Cathedral Library. Their mood is one of stoic resignation in the face of loss, lit fitfully by shafts of sunlit hope, sometimes Christian, sometimes less specifically linked to religion. They take us into a world where nature is an overwhelming force, attractive yet devastating: The seafarer speaks of the pull of the sea, the lonely yet fulfilling way of life which ‘that fine fellow, carefree in his cups set snugly up in town, cannot conceive’, but portrays also the bitterness of the seafarer’s existence, the hail which represents both physical and spiritual desolation. But those who live on land are in no better shape. ‘The days of glory have decayed/the earth has spilled its splendour’; and the seafarer is on a journey which is not only liturgical but metaphysical. The final image of the poem is of him steering ‘a steadfast course…to the living well-head and heaven haven of our Lord’s love’. At the close, as the poet gives thanks to God, he sets against the images of transience on earth the Christian liturgy with its images of eternity.
It took us no time to agree The Seafarer was to be our first recording project and we soon began the search for the perfect narrator. That we eventually settled upon Sir Willard White was a remarkable piece of good fortune. With one of the most charismatic voices on the planet, he brings incredible presence and drama to the text. So much so, in fact, that Sally broke down in tears after she heard our first run-through. She assures us that was a good thing.
Sally originally wrote The Seafarer after taking inspiration from a set of monoprints by the artist Jila Peacock. We're delighted to offer an animated film of her visuals, synchronised to our performance, to anyone who purchases the CD.
Click the manuscript page to read Charles Harrison Wallace's beautiful and dramatic translation of the The Seafarer poem. Click here to learn more about its history
Click the cover of Sally's score to read her own highly descriptive programme notes for The Seafarer Trio, courtesy of The Scottish Music Centre.
In July 2014, Ash was given a private audience with the original Seafarer manuscript, thanks to the kind co-operation of Exeter Cathedral Library. Of course, it's only fitting he made a short film to document the experience:
The Exeter Book