Sunday, June 16, 2019

Past event (2019)


Sunday, June 16 | 7:30pm
Benjamin Bagby, vocalist, harpist, and scholar

Benjamin Bagby brings us the chilling, magical power wielded by the untitled Anglo-Saxon epic poem known as Beowulf. The story has its roots in the art of the scop (“creator”), the bardic story-teller of early medieval England who would retell Beowulf in song and speech, accompanying himself on a six-string harp for an audience captivated by the finest details of sound and meaning.

Bagby’s impetus to re-vocalise this medieval text as living art has come from many directions: from the power of those bardic traditions, mostly non-European, which still survive intact; from the work of instrument-makers who have made thoughtful renderings of seventh-century Germanic harps; and from those scholars who have shown an active interest in the problems of turning written words back into an oral poetry meant to be absorbed through the ear/spirit, rather than eye/brain. But the principal impetus comes from the language of the poem itself, which has a power that no modern translation can approximate.

Co-presented with Next Stage

Please note that this performance is approximately 90 minutes in length, without an intermission, and is followed by a discussion with Benjamin Bagby moderated by Seth Knopp.