By Frazer MacDonald
This week, the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) hosted the ninth Rosamond Prize Concert, an annual project that sees music students from the college collaborate with creative writing students from the Manchester Writing School to create a unique blend of spoken word performance and classical music.
Before the concert began, Manchester Metropolitan University Professor of Poetry Michael Symmons Roberts introduced the event. He said: “This is a very special Rosamond Prize Concert. It’s the ninth one, which means next year we can celebrate our tenth anniversary. But this year’s will be special too. We have some very interesting and exciting performances to look forward to.”
As the concert began, it was clear that many of the performances were indeed going to be interesting and exciting. In Reprinted in New York, for example, a recorded recital was played while the performers on stage used an array of musical instruments and every day items to create something that was more like performance art than a traditional concert piece. This was certainly one of the more memorable performances of the evening.
Other pieces at the event were performed in a more traditional, but equally powerful, way. Some, such as Sam Humphrey’s You Belong To Me used a larger ensemble, with several people playing instruments. This piece was an interesting blend of classical and more contemporary music that explored an addiction to online shopping.
The final performance of the evening, Alex Simcolt and Keith Hudson’s Routines, was also one of the most memorable ones. It was a series of short poems which were a tribute to three old stage performers who had very unique tricks, one of whom was a comedian who fried fishes on stage. The music was simple, but worked well given the light nature of the poems which were being performed.
When every act had performed, Adam Gorb, Head of the School of Composition at RNCM and one of the Rosamond Prize judges, took to the stage. He explained that the panel of judges would take a short interval to decide who would receive the Rosamond Prize for this year.
After the interval, Adam returned and stood in front of the crowd again. He said: “This was a good year for performances, and we would like to commend three acts for bringing something new to the competition. Firstly, Reprinted in New York by Deanne Smith and Emma McGordon. Secondly, Routines by Alex Simcolt and Keith Hudson. And thirdly, Samson by Grace Mason and Elisabeth Sennit Clough, which will be awarded the Rosamond Prize.”
Samson is a short piece based on a poem of the same name by Elisabeth Sennitt Clough. It tells the story of a biblical Delilah figure who, at first, seems sweet and alluring but who turns aggressive towards the end of the piece. After the prize-giving, the winners received a standing ovation, and the audience was invited to have drinks at the RNCM bar.
For information about other events organised by the Manchester Writing School, see the school events page.