BOOKS & PUBLICATIONS
Nicola has written columns for a wide number of local and national newspapers and for BBC Radio 4. She has written extensively on English Song for The Singer and Classical Music Magazine in which she ran a column for five years on text and music and a further series of extended articles on musical theatre.
Her first book Wild Life: A Garden Drama (2005) accompanied a music performance and storytelling initiative in schools in South Yorkshire and ran alongside a weekly column in the Sheffield Telegraph for two years.
Nicola also wrote the script for the touring show of Spanish stories, songs and music: Margarita and the House of Love and her recordings of Spanish songs have been used in an award-winning documentary about the Spanish Civil War: War is Beautiful.
Her new book The Wordsmith’s Guide to English Song: Poetry, Music and Imagination is published by Compton in two volumes and offers an imaginative and practical guide to interpreting and performing English song. This seminal work is aimed at singers and accompanists, exploring poetry and music and firing the imagination with a host of ideas and narratives.
The result of years of study, teaching and performance, and informed throughout by the author's love of poetry, Nicola Harrison invites the singer to think more expansively about the way they approach and sing English Song. The result of her work is unique, refreshing, and is certain to change the way singers perform and experience these classic songs
Nicola examines the poetry and lyrics of the songs, taking into account the context in which the words were written - the symbolism, mythologies, religion, philosophy, and the many other influences on the writer - digging deep into the text with fascinating results. Her exploration of English Song is entertaining, witty and illuminating, exploring the magical relationship of words and music, and the way each separate art is painted by the other.
For more information on The Wordsmith’s Guide, or to order a copy, please email Nicola directly. You can also order from Amazon by clicking here or go to the Compton website here.
Published articles, editorial and reviews:
'The Beauty of the Verse, Celebrating Ivor Gurney's 126th Birthday.'
West Country Life Magazine: 27-28th August 2016
'The Healing Notes of Nature: The Songs of Ivor Gurney, a Composer Scarred by War.'
Resurgence and Ecologist Magazine: Issue 298, September/October 2016
'Song Cannot Live Without Words' (online article here).
"In all, The Wordsmith’s Guide is an invitation to think differently about the way we approach the singing of English song, to offer a widening understanding of the repertoire and a deeper exploration of the text."
Classical Music Magazine: September 2016
Review: "Worthy appraisal of true Cotswold cultural genius."
Cotswold Life Magazine: September 2016
'A Master of His Craft: The Life of Roger Quilter.'
The Sussex Argus, 5th October 2016
'Go Lovely Rose: the Songs of Roger Quilter'.
"The last verse closes with a fading echo of the first, both poetically and musically, underpinning the poet’s fine argument about love, beauty, and the passage of time."
The British Music Society Journal: Volume 38, October 2016
Review by Roddy Dunnett: "A highly perceptive, thoughtful book... discerning in the way it explores the background to each author and poem text Gurney sets... [The author] leads us through well-sculpted biography, and often excellent and insightful analysis of the poetry."
The Ivor Gurney Society Newsletter, Volume 60, October 2016
'From the Severn to the Somme: Exploring the Poetry and Music of Ivor Gurney'.
"Gurney adored the hills and plains of Gloucestershire: its trees, its stretching fields on the slant, twisting hedgerows, huge skies and scurrying clouds. When in France it was this glorious English landscape that he held brightly in his imagination: it was his refuge and his salvation."
Cotswold Life Magazine: 3-page article, November 2016
Feature and review.
British Association for Victorian Studies, November 2016
'A Brief History of the English Rose' (online article here).
BBC History Magazine, December 2016
Review: "Gives us an insight into the life and working practice of Quilter, as well as the meaning of the lyrics and their symbolism."
Caring for Sussex Magazine, December 2016
Review: "Harrison's minute annotation of the poems selected by Quilter adds greatly to our appreciation. This is a worthwhile tribute to a talent not sung nearly enough."
Sussex Life Magazine, February 2017
Review: "These two volumes represent a real labour of love, and one can only thank Nicola for sharing her enthusiasm and expert knowledge in this accessible and interesting form."
Singing Magazine, the magazine of The Association of Teachers of Singing, issue 71, 2017.
Musical Opinion Magazine, Spring 2017
Both volumes available now.