Marianne Schroeder: A Portrait in Sound

In this blog post, I present a recording that I made here at home. You’ll be able to listen to Marianne Schroeder: A Portrait in Sound at the end of the post. First, allow me to set it up.

Part stream of consciousness and permeated throughout by impressions of the stars, Marianne Schroeder’s words come in response to a series of questions posed to her about a second trip she made North, to Baffin Island, in the summer of 1975. I conducted the interview with Marianne in the summer of 2019, at her home in Hamilton. Those familiar with Glenn Gould, will recognize Marianne Schroeder as the voice of the nurse in The Idea of North, a contrapuntal radio documentary created by Glenn in 1967. (Click here to listen.)

Fast forward to today, amidst a global pandemic and I knew that I needed to do something special with the recording of our conversation. Initially, I had thought that I might transcribe part of the interview for a future blog post, however, as the pandemic got underway and feelings of fear and uncertainty filled the air, I turned to my conversation with Marianne for comfort and it delivered.

Trimming the thirty-five or so minutes of recorded conversation down to about ten minutes, I was able to pick out those moments that I felt convey the deep spiritual qualities I have come to love, in a friend who I have known for the past eleven years. My next step was to select a musical track to accompany Marianne’s words. Settling upon The Path of Orion, an ambient vocal piece from Isadora Zidore’s latest album, Star Navigation, I inserted into the music my recorded excerpts of Marianne, creating a kind of soliloquy on the value of innerness.  

In the recording you are about to hear, the nurse is older, her voice more coarse in timbre and with a slower rhythmic cadence than when we first heard it in 1967. Yet, there still exists that ever so distinctive and musical pattern of speech, one which must surely have captivated Glenn when he interviewed Marianne more than fifty years ago.

I wish to express my sincere appreciation to Marianne for allowing me to share with you her thoughts from our conversation last summer. She is a dear friend, whose words I know will move you as they did me.

As for Isadora Zidore, who kindly allowed me to use her music and who assisted in helping to polish up certain technical issues (this pianist’s audio tech skills and equipment are limited) I wish to extend my gratitude for her generosity and talent. For more information about Isadora Zidore or to purchase her album, please visit her Bandcamp page. You can also check out her YouTube channel.

And now, here is Marianne Schroeder: A Portrait in Sound. (Headphones recommended).

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