Carol Wood is a harpist, composer, and Professor Emerita of Medieval Literature at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where she taught for almost thirty years. She and her husband have now moved to the beautiful village of Saxtons River, Vermont, where she continues to perform, write music, and garden.
A Gathering of Friends
Friends Near and Far
The Beasts of Bethlehem
The Chaucer Songbook
Saxtons River Suite
Homage to Yeats
Songs for Married Lovers (2013)
Three Christmas Carols for Low Voice and Harp
Dances for Harp and Flute (2013)
The World of Dreams: Art Songs for Harp and Voice
Drawing on her years of teaching English literature, Carol Wood has set some of her favorite poems to music. The World of Dreams includes songs with lyrics by such great poets as W.B. Yeats, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, William Blake, Robert Herrick, Walter de la Mare, A. E. Housman, and Sara Teasdale, among others. The title poem, “The World of Dreams,” is a lullaby written as a barcarolle for Carol’s grandson. Several of the songs are love songs, including Yeats’s “The Song of Wandering Aengus,” Herrick’s “The Night-Piece, to Julia,” Teasdale’s “Tonight,” Tennyson’s “Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal,” “The Avenue” by Frances Cornford, and Housman’s “The Pleiads,” which is his translation of a poem by the ancient Greek poetess, Sappho. The last three songs are a suite called “Poets, Flowers, and Time,” and are made up of Herrick’s “To Daffodils,” Blake’s “Ah! Sunflower,” and a blues-y setting of Vachel Lindsay’s “The Dandelion.” Most but not all of the songs are written for lower voices (altos and baritones). A few (“Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal” and “The Dandelion”) are presented in two keys. (Click on any highlighted title for a sound sample.)
These newly-composed carols are settings of poems by Thomas Hardy, Kenneth Grahame, and G.K. Chesterton.
The Oxen (lyrics by Thomas Hardy)
First published by Mel Bay, The Chaucer Songbook is now available in a beautiful new edition from Afghan Press. The book is composed of a scholarly introduction on the harp in the Middle Ages and in Chaucer’s poetry and a collection of music related to Chaucer’s works. The songs, for which there are extensive scholarly notes, include Angelus ad Virginem, Alma Redemptoris Mater, Sanctus, Gloria, Edi Be Thu, Roundel of the Birds, Ne Qu ‘ On Porroit, Gais et Jolis, Ton y Brenhin, Symlen Ben-bys, Maid in the Moor, I Am of Irlaunde, My Lief is Faren in a Londe, I Have a Gentil Cock, The Pear Tree, King Orfeo, Glenkindie, and The Marriage of Sir Gawain.
Saxon Songs is a scholarly book and music collection celebrating the earliest English poetry and the hearpa, the lyre of the Anglo-Saxons. The introduction contains an essay on the hearpa, a discussion of Anglo-Saxon poetry and its pronunciation, notes on the translations, and notes to the songs. The songs are, with one exception, Carol’s translations from Anglo-Saxon, or harp solos inspired by Anglo-Saxon literature. The songs include Eight Riddles from the Exeter Book (“Harp,” “Bagpipe,” “Honey Mead,” “Fish in River,” “Swan,” “Fingers and Pen,” “Reed with Runes“), Two Old English Elegies (“The Husband’s Message” and “Lines from ‘The Wanderer’”), Three Old English Charms (“Against a Dwarf,” “Charm for an Unfruitful Land,” and “Charm for a Swarm of Bees”), and “The Harpers” from The Fortunes of Men. The harp solos are Three Kennings for Harp (“Ring-Giver,” “Peace-Weaver,” and “Whale Road”) and “Lament for Beowulf.”