In all her writing Nicola seeks to extend the exploration of poetry and music into imagination and ultimately, performance.
Nicola has written columns for a wide number of national and local newspapers and for BBC Radio 4. She has been published extensively in music-related media such as The Singer, Classical Music Magazine, British Music and many others, her writing focusing mainly on poetry, music and the magical interface between these two forms. She has authored several books, her most recent being the two volumes of The Wordsmith’s Guide to English Song: Poetry, Music and Imagination (2016). Published by Compton, they offer an imaginative and practical guide to interpreting and performing English song.
Nicola wrote the script for the touring show 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. She is currently involved in several pieces of new writing for the stage.
For more information on The Wordsmith’s Guide, or to order a copy, please click here.
The Wordsmith’s Guide 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.
Review: "These two excellent volumes... provide a fascinating, in-depth exploration... with vivid and detailed analysis that both informs and entertains, while anyone preparing any of these songs for performance will find new inspiration and a deeper level of understanding in these very approachable and meticulously researched guides. Highly recommended."
Musical Opinion Magazine, Spring 2017
Review: “Two absorbing books... Harrison explores the poetry with insight and intelligence.”
The British Voice Association Journal, 2017