Programme 2017-18

About the Song Seminar

The Song Seminar is run by the Cambridge Interdisciplinary Song Group, a network of researchers from a range of disciplines, including English, Music, Modern and Medieval Languages, Philosophy, Theology, History, and Classics. We are all of us, in our different ways, interested in songs – what they are, how they work, how they are used. Our regular lunchtime seminar fosters cross-disciplinary conversations about songs – their forms, functions, relations, histories – and about the poets, composers, songwriters, and performers who make them. We consider songs of all periods and traditions, and try to feature live performances when we can. See below for a list of past events, and watch this space for upcoming sessions. If you’d like to hear about the seminar programme and to receive materials (texts, scores, links to recordings), please join our email list by clicking here and following the instructions.


Upcoming sessions

All meetings of the seminar are on Wednesdays, 12.30-2 pm in Emmanuel College


7 February 2018 (Old Library)

Heather Glen: ‘What happens to words in songs?’


21 February 2018 (Old Library)

Caroline Egan: ‘Aztec Baroque: the uses of Nahuatl in Sor Juana’s carols’


14 March 2018 (Old Library)

Gavin Williams: ‘Songs from New York’s Italian Colony, by Enrico Caruso and Others’


25 April 2018 (Harrods Room)

Ewan Jones, topic tbc


9 May 2018 (Old Library)

Miranda Stanyon on Minnesang


seminar conveners: Corinna Russell and Gavin Alexander


Past sessions

23 November 2017

Lucy Taylor (mezzo-soprano) and Jeremy Thurlow (piano) performing and discussing Baudelaire settings with Miranda Gill

8 November 2017

Sean Curran: ‘Music writing and music history in a thirteenth-century song’

25 October 2017

Discussion session: Katherine Bergeron, ‘A Bugle, A Bell, A Stroke of the Tongue: Rethinking Music in Modern French Verse’, Representations 86 (2004): 53–72

17 May 2017

Rachel Adelstein on what we talk about when we talk about ‘a song’

3 May 2017

Ross Cole: ‘Cannibal Song? Poetics and Personae in “Visions of Johanna” and “Diamonds & Rust”‘

8 March 2017

Phyllis Weliver: ‘Triangulated Criticism, Song, and Daniel Deronda

22 February 2017

Simon Jackson and Simone Kotva: ‘Writing animal song: the case of Charles Butler’s “Melissomelos, or Bees’ Madrigall” (1624)

8 February 2017

Ceri Owen and Corinna Russell on Vaughan Williams’s ‘Linden Lea: A Dorset Song’

23 November 2016

Composers Jeremy Thurlow and Tim Watts in performance and conversation

9 November 2016

Katharine Dell and Danielle Padley on the Psalms

26 October 2016

Gavin Alexander and Edward Wickham on Dowland’s ‘In darkness let me dwell’