‘Charles Causley: A Musical Celebration’

The next major Centenary event in celebration of Cornish poet Charles Causley is taking place in Launceston Town Hall tomorrow night (Thursday) in a evening billed as  ‘Charles Causley: A Musical Celebration’

Centenary cc

From 6.15-7pm “The Breathing River: Ballads, Bards, and Classical Composers”, The Charles Causley Trust writers in residence Cahal Dallat and Anne-Marie Fyfe hold a pre-concert talk in the Guildhall about Dublin-born composer Charles Villiers Stanford & Cornish poet Charles Causley.

Both drew from a living stream of traditional ballads & old Celtic airs. With mandolin, accordion and flute in hand, the two celebrated Irish poets explore the sources of inspiration for these two Charleses.

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Cahal Dallat had this to say about what to expect from tomorrow evening:

“Having spent 3 months on new settings of Causley poems I’ve been working on 2 fronts: song settings, using newly composed and traditional tunes, which will be premiered on Charles Birth Centenary on Thu 24 Aug, and musical settings as background while poems are read. And it’s these we’ll be premiering in tomorrow night’s concert, one very Tudor, another modal and Celtic, and a more modern composition/theme for one of Charles’ best-loved poems…”

Anne-Marie Fyfe and Cahal Dallat

“The pre-concert talk should be great fun as it draws together so many of the strands I’ve been exploring in my Causley Trust residency and so much of the legacy of folk/traditional airs/ballads/dance-music that Anne-Marie and I have talked about – in relation to poetry and literature generally – in our performances in Britain, Ireland and the US for many years.

And much of it focuses on our own native Glens of Antrim, which had an amazing source of inspiration for Irish and British and American poets and composers at the turn of the century, a place very like Cornwall in its unspoilt remoteness, authentic lifestyle, natural beauty, fairy lore…

So yes, there’s Causley, and Yeats and Joyce and Robert Graves, and more composers than you’d ever guess who were pupils of Stanfords and who followed his lead of including traditional airs in classical music – Vaughan Williams, Holst, Gurney, Goosens and so on. And Charles Causley’s interest wasn’t just in ‘ballads’ though we’ll mention a few of his, and some of the others he published during the 1960s ‘ballad revival’ but he was a classical pianist himself and his sheet music collection at Cyprus Well – and his record collection, both folk and classical, shows just how interested he was in the music of these islands.”

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This discussion is followed by a concert featuring the Dante Quartet alongside Celtic poets and local musicians with Causley poetry taking centre stage.

From 7.30pm, there’s a ‘glorious mixture of music and poetry’ presented by the Dante Quartet together with Celtic poets and local musicians, Caradon Strings and Launceston Choral Society.


Inspired by lively renaissance part-songs, Martinu’s virtuosic Madrigals set the scene.

Charles Causley’s poetry takes centre stage in a setting by Andrew Wilson of Singing Game for string quartet and choir, and his ballads are read by poets Cahal Dallat and Anne-Marie Fyfe, with musical accompaniment.

After a Celtic interlude from the young Caradon Strings, Stanford’s brilliant string quartet forms a romping Irish finale. Tickets range from £3- £14