Members of the Crausaz Wordsworth Society gathered virtually on 24 April 2021 to bid farewell to Robinson College Warden, Professor David Yates, and to hear from the Senior Tutor how the college met the challenge of Covid-19 and plans to build back better in 2021 and beyond.
The Crausaz Wordsworth Society is for those who have remembered Robinson College in their will, and meets every other year (although last year was missed due to the pandemic).
Following an introduction from Warden Professor David Yates, Society president Dr Mary Stewart interviewed Senior Tutor Dr David Woodman live.
Dr Woodman reflected on how the college responded to the pandemic, from some of the earliest challenges to this year's continuing uncertainties over graduation, assessment and so on. During the Q&A session, topics included the outlook for next academic year, how the university has worked closely with Cambridge authorities throughout this period, and maths and sports at Robinson.
We were sadly unable to treat guests to a live concert by Robinson's talented musicians this year. However, as a small token of thanks, here is a musical gift from Dr Jeremy Thurlow, Fellow and Director of Studies in Music. Namely, his new composition, I See a Ring.
Here is an introduction from Dr Thurlow:
'Earlier this month the piece was broadcast on Radio 3's Breakfast show with Petroc Trelawney. I'm delighted to share this recording with members of the Crausaz Wordsworth Society.
Near the beginning of Virginia Woolf's novel The Waves, following a mysterious sunrise, we hear voices, one after another – the voices of children – in what sounds like a series of hushed incantations. We feel that a spell is being cast, processes are being set in motion which will play out far beyond the present moment.
"I see a ring, hanging above me. It quivers and hangs in a loop of light." ...
"Islands of light are swimming on the grass. They have fallen through the trees."
Something about this passage haunted me – more a quality of light and atmosphere than any particular event or action. In 2018, when I was asked to write a setting of Woolf for a Japanese choir, this is the passage that came to mind. I wrote very simply.
Woolf was fascinated by the rhythm of words, and loved to make them 'break' and 'tumble' (in her words) across an underlying regularity. You can feel this in those childlike incantations in The Waves. In my song I gave the piano circling, always-returning wave-like motion, while the choir's phrases, following closely Woolf's verbal rhythms, fall across these repeating waves in always different patterns.'
Listen to I See a Ring by clicking this link.
Thank you to members of the Crausaz Wordsworth Society for joining this event, and for their ongoing support to Robinson College.