Carol Wood
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Carol Wood

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Press


As delightful as it is gentle. This collection of songs mentioned throughout Chaucer's works is startlingly fresh, done with a love and spirit that only the very knowledgeable can accomplish. . . . .The touch of harp solos that find their way in, as in the penultimate 'Alma Redemptoris Mater,' is magic. - Muse's Muse


A selection of charming pieces . . . . composed and brilliantly arranged by Carol Wood, who also plays the Celtic harp and sings with great sensitivity. - New Classics


Enchanting . . . . [S]he kept her audience enthralled with her beautiful music and her explanations of the songs from her CD. - Barnes and Noble Events


The 20 short compositions Wood wrote for [X. J.] Kennedy's cycle have the accessibility and simple melodicism of Christmas carols, yet manage to retain the integrity of the art song. . . . For this reviewer, the cycle's two pieces for solo harp were the most lyrical selections on this consistently lyrical recording.

Wood sings several of the carols; her warm, delicate, and clear voice is the ideal restorative for ears wearied by the vocal straining of top-40 Whitney Houston imitators. - Lagniappe


As a gifted researcher, instrumentalist, and vocalist, Carol Wood brings an ancient art to life. . . . [F]or nearly 20 years now [her students] have had the rare opportunity of learning from a professor with expertise in more than one art. In addition to recording The Chaucer Songbook CD, she's written a soon-to-be-published companion book of the same name featuring her arrangements for voice and harp. . . .
Wood has traced the lyrics and/or the melodies of most of the 17 songs directly to Chaucer's works or Chaucer's time and performed them with simplicity and restraint.
And although the disc features Wood's harp, it also features the singing of several classically trained Lake Charles singers and, on six songs, the winsome singing of Wood herself. - Times of Acadiana


"The Eve of St. Agnes" is a lovely collection. . . .The opening piece, "In May," has a haunting melody that intrigues and engages, and Wood's sure touch on the strings brings it poignancy. "A Medieval Feast" brings the lsterner to the grandeur and color of such and event. In contrast, The Dandelion" has a modern bluesy feel to it; its rhythms and flatted notes are definitely not medieval. - Folk Harp Journal


For anyone interested in early harp music, this book is a treasure trove. . . . The introductory chapters and notes are copious and provide fascinating insights in harp history. [Review of the print version of The Chaucer Songbook] - HarpLight


Discography

The Chaucer Songbook
The Beasts of Bethlehem
The Eve of St. Agnes

Photos

Bio

Drawing her inspiration from ancient and modern poetry, Celtic music, and classical music, harpist and songwriter Carol Wood creates music that lies somewhere between the folk song and the art song. Her music is often called “magical” or “enchanting,” perhaps because she plays and writes for the Celtic harp, with its pure, delicate sound.

Her latest CD, The Eve of St. Agnes, includes her settings of poetry by great poets of the past and present, such as Robert Herrick, William Blake, and W. B. Yeats, as well as her settings of her own translations of six of the mysterious Anglo-Saxon riddles. The title piece is an instrumental suite inspired by Keats’ famous poem. (“Not every great poem can be—or ought to be—set to music,” she says. “But that’s a whole other topic.”)

This CD also shows off the versatility of the Celtic harp and includes, in addition to art songs, diverse pieces ranging from a tango to a neo-medieval suite to “The Magician’s Birthday,” a composition which was named one of five finalists in the Jazz and Blues category of the 2005 South Atlantic Songwriter’s Competition in Washington, D.C.

Carol was initially drawn to the harp because of her background in medieval literature. (She began studying the harp while finishing her Ph.D. in medieval Welsh poetry.) There has always been a special affinity between poets and the harp—the troubadours, the Celtic bards, and Anglo-Saxon scops, all played their own versions of the harp.

Her first CD, The Chaucer Songbook, was a collection of songs from Chaucer’s works, arranged for harp, voice, and other instruments. (The CD was accompanied by a book published by Mel Bay.)

Since then, Carol has been writing her own music; she has published four collections of music for the Celtic harp, voice, and other instruments with Afghan Press (A Gathering of Friends, Friends Far and Near, The Beasts of Bethlehem, and Homage to Yeats.)

Her second CD, The Beasts of Bethlehem, featured her own settings of several Christmas poems, including the title suite, a collection of poems by the great contemporary American poet X. J. Kennedy, along with her wistful version of Thomas Hardy’s “The Oxen.”

Carol was a clinician and performer at the Oklahoma Harp Conference in 2003 and adjudicated at the Celtic Harp Competition at the Richmond Highland Games in Virginia (also in 2003). She has performed in all kinds of venues, from coffee houses to concert halls, and in all kinds of places, from McPherson, Kansas, and Houston, Texas, to New Orleans and Paris.

“What I really love to do is to set poems to music so that I can sing them, or so that other people can sing them. Sometimes people ask me if I ever write my own lyrics; I always say no, I don’t. I wouldn’t dare to, because I spend nearly every day teaching the greatest poetry in the language. (In my other life, I’m an English lit professor.)”