<![CDATA[Welcome to Berkshire Media Artists - Blog]]>Tue, 27 Jun 2017 08:43:55 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[How to love Spring - John Clare's Hymn to Spring]]>Wed, 02 Apr 2014 19:00:21 GMThttp://bmaaudio.com/1/post/2014/04/how-to-love-spring-john-clares-hymn-to-spring.html
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Spring is a great time for poetry and BMA is exploring the verses of nature poet John Clare. With the warmer weather its now easier to enjoy sauntering in the woods and fields and join the poets in observing the workings of Nature. Like the nightingale he wrote so passionately about, John Clare thrived in woodland recesses observing and always discovering the deeper mysteries of his muse. There he took pen to paper and from the rural village of Helpston sung out his ecological vision to the world. This video poem, Hymn to Spring, employs the romantic technique of personifying nature – thus the inclusion of the Romantic artists such as William Waterhouse and Sir Frank Dicksee – and by doing so helps us understand her. They tell us Nature is not only a living entity with human qualities but is in fact us and we her.


The numerous biographies, articles and journals about John Clare have well documented his love of trees, shrubs, birds, flowers and forest nooks. Yet it was only as a published botanist that his habit of wandering off into secluded woods was considered socially acceptable by his fellow villagers. His poem Shadows of Taste describes his partiality towards solitary alcoves:

He loves each desolate neglected spot
That seems in labour’s hurry left forgot

Even today this activity might seem strange to neighbors and society due to our favoring more artificial means of experiencing new thoughts and sensations. Yet while we are ensconced online or with a DVD the poet in their woodland haunt maintains that forgotten connection to earth and trees – perhaps for the rest of us. The poem is not only a verbal landscape painting but a how to manual of reestablishing our ties to Earth. With the persistent busyness of our daily thinking we sometimes need an instructor to point the way simply, gracefully and thoughtfully. Clare reminds us that its okay to dwell..

Lost in such extacys in this old spot
I feel that rapture which the world hath not
That joy like health that flushes in my face
Amid the brambles of this ancient place
The rest of peace the sacredness of mind
In such deep solitudes we seek – and find.

(from The Robin’s Nest)

Hymn to Spring is a wooing of Nature’s eternal embrace which is now more essential than ever. We are all effected by the impact of our ever expanding civilization on the environment. Clare was too – watching his woodland hideaways slowly yield to the deforestation of the Enclosure Acts. It has been stated that the state of the world reflects the state of our thoughts. By reviewing the old poets we renew our thinking, looking closely at the arrival of Spring as John Clare would – taking note of her beauty and respectfully yet passionately summoning her to join us again.

As an essayist, author, editor and lecturer Christopher Bamford’s reading has the subtle clarity of one who has written extensively on the insights and revelations of the the romantic period. An audio edition of his selected published essays is scheduled for release this summer – (see Keats, Goethe: Romanticism and the Evolution of Consciousness.)

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<![CDATA[The Music of the Pride and Prejudice 200th anniversary Audiobook]]>Wed, 02 Apr 2014 18:59:50 GMThttp://bmaaudio.com/1/post/2014/04/the-music-of-the-pride-and-prejudice-200th-anniversary-audiobook.html
When not praising Ms Larkin’s performance, many people have asked me why I chose this particular piano music.

My inspiration in selecting the material came from the book, Jane Austen and Mozart: Classical Equilibrium in Fiction and Music by Robert K. Wallace. The chapter called Pride and Prejudice and Piano Concerto no. 9 was the nod to start the audio off with an excerpt from that concerto. It matched the material and first opening lines perfectly. Great minds think alike and Mozart and Austen were very much in sync structurally. The music, played by Sarah Edelstein and recorded at BMA, is extremely moving and adds a rich component to Alison’s wonderful narration.

In many ways Jane Austen is operatic and this audio comes the closest of all them to presenting that. Excerpts extracted from other Mozart piano concertos used in chapter segues give the listener a chance to hear Mozart gems they’ve possibly never heard before. That is part of the many offerings of this audio.

- Jason Brown, BMA Studios


From Jane Austen and Mozart:

“The action of volume 1 of Pride and Prejudice is intense and playful, complex and quick-paced. Volume 2 is slower in pace and deeper in emotion. Volume 3 returns to the quick-paced action of volume 1 but is more relaxed in structure.

The first movement of K. 271 (Piano Concerto No. 9) is an intensely playful and quick-paced Allegro. The second movement is slower in tempo and deeper in emotion. The third movement returns to the high spirits and quick temp of the opening movement but is more relaxed in structure, including a ’surprise minuet.’

“K. 271 has even more affinities with Pride and Prejudice than most Mozart concertos do. Those affinities are emotional and spiritual as well as structural. Broadly speaking, the mood of each work is happy-sad-happy in the successive volumes or movement.”

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<![CDATA[Change at Jamaica – The Audio]]>Sat, 02 Nov 2013 18:59:57 GMThttp://bmaaudio.com/1/post/2013/11/change-at-jamaica-the-audio.html
It took a few years to get the Change at Jamaica audio edition engines running and then another half a year or so for it to take off but now it’s flying. A good thing is worth putting time into. I naturally prefer the audio over the print version of any book. Some books on the other hand do better on the page as the narrator can be too slow, too fast, not present, sing songy or just plain miscast. And I’m always apprehensive about authors as narrators. That is not the case with Mr. Messer. Timing, delivery and character are top notch in this edition. His Meisner training paid off. What grabs me most is how he renders the book’s ironic humor like a master chef: rich with flavor and not a morsel missed. I look forward to the next novel.

Jason Brown, Producer of the Change at Jamaica Audiobook

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<![CDATA[Ghosts: Edith Wharton on Audio Vol.2]]>Wed, 02 Oct 2013 19:00:04 GMThttp://bmaaudio.com/1/post/2013/10/ghosts-edith-wharton-on-audio-vol2.html
“‘Do you believe in ghosts?’ is the pointless question often addressed by those who are incapable of feeling ghostly influences…” – Edith Wharton

“Wharton explores in these narratives a repressed story about women who become unquiet ghosts because they cannot have a voice.” – Candace Waid

As fall arrives so will Ghosts, a new audio book compilation of Edith Wharton’s most frightening tales. Produced by BMA Studios and The Mount Press, Ghosts is the result of talented Berkshire narrators lending their craft, all of whom have felt the influence of Edith Wharton’s grand estate – The Mount.

Set on 49 acres, The Mount is the very definition of turn of the century elegance and style. Yet there lurks a dark side. And if one visits The Mount on Friday evenings, the dark side can be discovered by taking an entertaining ghost tour hosted by The Mount staff. For those who have lived at The Mount during its function as a residence for Shakespeare & Company the house could exhibit a chilling character. Actors have reported footsteps at night when no one was around. One occupant, alone one night in the empty mansion heard the clamor of a soiree on the lower floor. This was confirmed by other members of the company who had evidently experienced the phenomena as well.

There have also been reports of ghosts as visible as the ones in Wharton’s stories even ghosts who had questions of their own for the living occupants. Whether or not one believes in these accounts Wharton’s “feeling of ghostly influences” stems from an intense and difficult past.

R.W.B. Lewis describes Edith’s symptoms of a “haunting fear” of “some dark indefinable menace” that stemmed from an attack of typhoid fever. He writes in his biography of Edith Wharton “It was worse when she came at the end of her daily walk through the afternoon dusk; there, on the threshold of the house, she was sure, the horror was preparing to spring upon her, and no one, not even her father, could protect her. She could not sleep at night unless a light was on and a nursemaid in the room with her. Her conscious mind seems never to have grasped the cause of what she would describe as a ‘choking agony of terror.’” (from Edith Wharton: A Biography.)

PRODUCTION

Not being an enthusiast of the macabre myself Ms. Wharton has turned me around. Editing an audio requires that one listens to the story at least six times and I wasn’t looking forward to dwelling too long in that shady realm. I discovered the same charm that went into the construction of The Mount also went into the construction of the tales and I began to look forward to walking the ancient dark halls, secret passageways and moonlit gardens that fill her ghost tales.

The thrill was amplified by the exceptional talent of the narrators whose intelligence and ability made this a highly entertaining project to work on. I am honored to help put these stories on a recording to be enjoyed by Wharton fans as well as explorers of dark places.

THE MUSIC

Each story is complimented by a musical introduction by a composer that Edith herself might have listened to in her day. Performed by Sarah Edelstein for BMA Studios , the haunting melodies of Johann Sebastian Bach, Alexander Scriabin, Arnold Schoenberg, Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel float in and out of the chapters along side the phantoms that dwell there in.




Like the narration, the music was a production unto itself. The selections took weeks to finalize and the approach and execution of even one thirty second intro could take an entire afternoon. But whose counting? Working with skilled performers rendering classical masterpieces one can lose track of the hours. In some ways I felt that was apropos. I’m guessing Ghosts lose sense of time as well.




Jason Slater Brown




The audio edition of Ghosts is available at 
“‘Do you believe in ghosts?’ is the pointless question often addressed by those who are incapable of feeling ghostly influences…” – Edith Wharton

“Wharton explores in these narratives a repressed story about women who become unquiet ghosts because they cannot have a voice.” – Candace Waid

As fall arrives so will Ghosts, a new audio book compilation of Edith Wharton’s most frightening tales. Produced by BMA Studios and The Mount Press, Ghosts is the result of talented Berkshire narrators lending their craft, all of whom have felt the influence of Edith Wharton’s grand estate – The Mount.

Set on 49 acres, The Mount is the very definition of turn of the century elegance and style. Yet there lurks a dark side. And if one visits The Mount on Friday evenings, the dark side can be discovered by taking an entertaining ghost tour hosted by The Mount staff. For those who have lived at The Mount during its function as a residence for Shakespeare & Company the house could exhibit a chilling character. Actors have reported footsteps at night when no one was around. One occupant, alone one night in the empty mansion heard the clamor of a soiree on the lower floor. This was confirmed by other members of the company who had evidently experienced the phenomena as well.

There have also been reports of ghosts as visible as the ones in Wharton’s stories even ghosts who had questions of their own for the living occupants. Whether or not one believes in these accounts Wharton’s “feeling of ghostly influences” stems from an intense and difficult past.

R.W.B. Lewis describes Edith’s symptoms of a “haunting fear” of “some dark indefinable menace” that stemmed from an attack of typhoid fever. He writes in his biography of Edith Wharton “It was worse when she came at the end of her daily walk through the afternoon dusk; there, on the threshold of the house, she was sure, the horror was preparing to spring upon her, and no one, not even her father, could protect her. She could not sleep at night unless a light was on and a nursemaid in the room with her. Her conscious mind seems never to have grasped the cause of what she would describe as a ‘choking agony of terror.’” (from Edith Wharton: A Biography.)

PRODUCTION

Not being an enthusiast of the macabre myself Ms. Wharton has turned me around. Editing an audio requires that one listens to the story at least six times and I wasn’t looking forward to dwelling too long in that shady realm. I discovered the same charm that went into the construction of The Mount also went into the construction of the tales and I began to look forward to walking the ancient dark halls, secret passageways and moonlit gardens that fill her ghost tales.

The thrill was amplified by the exceptional talent of the narrators whose intelligence and ability made this a highly entertaining project to work on. I am honored to help put these stories on a recording to be enjoyed by Wharton fans as well as explorers of dark places.

THE MUSIC

Each story is complimented by a musical introduction by a composer that Edith herself might have listened to in her day. Performed by Sarah Edelstein for BMA Studios , the haunting melodies of Johann Sebastian Bach, Alexander Scriabin, Arnold Schoenberg, Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel float in and out of the chapters along side the phantoms that dwell there in.

Like the narration, the music was a production unto itself. The selections took weeks to finalize and the approach and execution of even one thirty second intro could take an entire afternoon. But whose counting? Working with skilled performers rendering classical masterpieces one can lose track of the hours. In some ways I felt that was apropos. I’m guessing Ghosts lose sense of time as well.

Jason Slater Brown





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