The Singing Glacier

Photograph © H. Spenceley, Pirhuk – Greenland Mountain Guides (Greenland expedition 2016)
Violin, Flora Curzon; voice, Helen Mort; piano, Bill Carslake

A collaborative response to glaciers in East Greenland.

Commissioned by The Little Baroque Company to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

In 2016  Bill went to Kulusuk, East Greenland with the poet Helen Mort for an exploratory climbing expedition. They were joined later by the film-maker Richard Jones.

The piece combines instrumental music by Bill, new poetry written and spoken by Helen and film taken by Richard and others in the team.

It has been performed live at Poetry in Aldeburgh and Totally Thames festivals, the Daniel Corkery Summer School, the Manchester Metropolitan University Place Writing Festival and featured on the RAH! Podcast at Manchester Metropolitan University.  There are versions for 12 piece baroque orchestra, 4 piece baroque orchestra, and – as featured here – modern violin with piano.

This recording features Flora Curzon on modern violin and Bill on piano. It reprises their performance with Helen at the Daniel Corkery Summer School in 2017.

In 2019 Hercules Editions published Helen’s poems as The Singing Glacier, including a conversation between Helen and Bill, some of the musical score, paintings by  Emma Stibbon RA, and an essay by the literary geographer, David Cooper.

The Singing Glacier also exists as a schools education project including: word and poetry challenges devised by Helen, two Greenlandic bone games purchased in Kulusuk, musical composition games devised by Bill, and the short film below, created by Richard to inspire children (and adults!) featuring Matt and Helen Spenceley, our amazing guides from Pirhuk – Greenland Mountain Guides.

Short film about the context of The Singing Glacier, featuring Helen and Matt Spenceley of Pirhuk – Greenland Mountain Guides.

More Pieces from Places

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Finzi Scholarship piece inspired by Mountain Hares in the Cairngorms. Full orchestra version (2,2,2,2; 4,2,0,0; timp; strings) and chamber version (violin, cello, piano, clarinet). Bill also wrote a travel account.
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Written to raise the profile of the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for ‘The Singing Glacier’. For violin, viola and glockenspiel.
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