Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Poetic Pairings - 4/26/2011

"April showers bring May flowers", and National Poetry Month brings a daily selection of poetry readings and related music to VPR Classical's mornings. Cheryl's starting each weekday morning with a poetry reading and a piece of music selected to complement the theme of the poem.

Today's 'poetic pairing' comes from a project that was created in 1994. The movie "Il Postino" had just been released to great international success. It told the fictional story of poet Pablo Neruda's exile in Italy, his friendship with a young postman in his village, and the sublime magic that poetry worked in the postman's previously unsuccessful efforts in love.

The film was produced by Miramax, and shortly after the film came out the chairmen of the company (Harvey and Bob Weinstein) began to hear from people around the world - especially the actors with whom they worked so closely - how much Neruda's poetry meant to them. So they created a recording of Neruda's poetry being read by people such as Julia Roberts, Willem Defoe, Sting, Madonna, and around 10 others. The one thing every narrator had in common was their love of Neruda's writings.

This morning we'll hear Miranda Richardson's reading of Neruda's "Poetry" paired with the deeply touching song "Amor mio, si muero y tu no mueres..." ("My love, if I die and you do not..."), one of the five "Neruda Songs" by Peter Lieberson. We learned with sadness on Saturday that Lieberson had passed away after a five-year battle with Lymphoma. He was 64, and he wrote the Neruda Songs to be sung by his wife, the late Lorraine Hunt-Lieberson.

Here's Alex Ross' remembrance of Lieberson.

Listen for more poetic pairings this month, just after 8am weekdays on VPR Classical. You can also find out more about Vermont's month-long celebration of poetry, "Poetry Alive!" here and take a moment to enjoy Lieberson's "Amor, mio" from the Neruda Songs here.

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