"

VISIT WESTCORKMUSIC.IE

LATEST ADDITION TO THE ARCHIVE

Ten Blake Songs for tenor and oboe

Ralph Vaughan Williams (b. 1872 - d. 1958)

Gareth Hulse

Gareth Hulse

Composer
Ralph Vaughan Williams (b. 1872 - d. 1958)
Composition Year
1957
Work Movements
1. Infant Joy
2. A poison tree
3. The piper
4. London
5. The lamb
6. The shepherd
7. Ah! Sun-flower!
8. Cruelty has a human heart
9. The Divine Image
10. Eternity
Artists
James Gilchrist [tenor], Gareth Hulse [oboe]

Programme Note Writer:
© Ian Fox

To mark the bi-centenary of the birth of poet, artist and visionary William Blake [1757-1827] film director Guy Brenton produced The Vision of William Blake, for the Blake Society, commissioning music from the 85 year old Vaughan Williams.  The result was an extraordinary set of ten songs for tenor and oboe.  Brenton only used eight of them in his film, plus music from the composer’s 1930 ballet Job inspired by Blake’s Biblical illustrations. Vaughan Williams never saw the film as he died in August 1958, before the première screening that October, making it his last completed work. The full set of songs was first heard in a BBC broadcast the same month with Wilfred Brown and Janet Craxton, and the first concert performance took place a month later. It is remarkable how fresh and inventive the music is, despite the composer’s considerable age.

He selected poems from Blake’s Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs of Experience (1794).

The oboe launches the first song Infant Joy with a motif which recurs during the song and sets the pastoral, reflective mood of the cycle. T S Eliot remarked on the terrifying honesty of A poison tree and there is a certain truthfulness apparent in the music at the outcome. The piper gives the oboe the opportunity to create a folksy atmosphere. Vaughan Williams provided similar episodes in his early symphonies. He once said he did not like London, one of Blake’s most terrifying visions from Songs of Experience, nonetheless he includes it in a setting for tenor solo. It is the first of three such solo settings. The oboe returns in The lamb which reverts to the wistful rural mood of the opening. The shepherd is the second tenor solo, with a distinctly folk-song mood.  Blake’s mystical ideas are heard in Ah! Sunflower  while the wailing oboe creates the mood for Cruelty has a human heart. The divine image is the last of the tenor solos, a hymn-like sequence with a conciliatory ending. Rather than finish at this point, Vaughan Williams adds Eternity, where the oboe ends the cycle with a ppp A natural as the music seems to float into space.

FULL DETAILS SEARCH FOR MORE

Ten Blake Songs for tenor and oboe

Composer: Ralph Vaughan Williams (b. 1872 - d. 1958)
Performance date: Friday 3rd July 2015
Venue: St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland

Share on Twitter | Share on Facebook
http://archive.westcorkmusic.ie/details/view/cmf/521

Composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (b. 1872 - d. 1958)
Work Title Ten Blake Songs for tenor and oboe
Composition Year 1957
Work Movements 1. Infant Joy
2. A poison tree
3. The piper
4. London
5. The lamb
6. The shepherd
7. Ah! Sun-flower!
8. Cruelty has a human heart
9. The Divine Image
10. Eternity
Artist(s) James Gilchrist [tenor], Gareth Hulse [oboe]
Performance Date Friday 3rd July 2015
Performance Venue St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland
Event Crespo Series
Duration 00:19:23
Recording Engineer Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm
Instrumentation Category Duo
Instrumentation T-solo, ob
Other Information To mark the bi-centenary of the birth of poet, artist and visionary William Blake [1757-1827] film director Guy Brenton produced The Vision of William Blake, for the Blake Society, commissioning music from the 85 year old Vaughan Williams. The result was an extraordinary set of ten songs for tenor and oboe. Brenton only used eight of them in his film, plus music from the composer’s 1930 ballet Job inspired by Blake’s Biblical illustrations. Vaughan Williams never saw the film as he died in August 1958, before the première screening that October, making it his last completed work. The full set of songs was first heard in a BBC broadcast the same month with Wilfred Brown and Janet Craxton, and the first concert performance took place a month later. It is remarkable how fresh and inventive the music is, despite the composer’s considerable age. He selected poems from Blake’s Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs of Experience (1794). The oboe launches the first song Infant Joy with a motif which recurs during the song and sets the pastoral, reflective mood of the cycle. T S Eliot remarked on the terrifying honesty of A poison tree and there is a certain truthfulness apparent in the music at the outcome. The piper gives the oboe the opportunity to create a folksy atmosphere. Vaughan Williams provided similar episodes in his early symphonies. He once said he did not like London, one of Blake’s most terrifying visions from Songs of Experience, nonetheless he includes it in a setting for tenor solo. It is the first of three such solo settings. The oboe returns in The lamb which reverts to the wistful rural mood of the opening. The shepherd is the second tenor solo, with a distinctly folk-song mood. Blake’s mystical ideas are heard in Ah! Sunflower while the wailing oboe creates the mood for Cruelty has a human heart. The divine image is the last of the tenor solos, a hymn-like sequence with a conciliatory ending. Rather than finish at this point, Vaughan Williams adds Eternity, where the oboe ends the cycle with a ppp A natural as the music seems to float into space.
Programme Note Writer © Ian Fox

To mark the bi-centenary of the birth of poet, artist and visionary William Blake [1757-1827] film director Guy Brenton produced The Vision of William Blake, for the Blake Society, commissioning music from the 85 year old Vaughan Williams.  The result was an extraordinary set of ten songs for tenor and oboe.  Brenton only used eight of them in his film, plus music from the composer’s 1930 ballet Job inspired by Blake’s Biblical illustrations. Vaughan Williams never saw the film as he died in August 1958, before the première screening that October, making it his last completed work. The full set of songs was first heard in a BBC broadcast the same month with Wilfred Brown and Janet Craxton, and the first concert performance took place a month later. It is remarkable how fresh and inventive the music is, despite the composer’s considerable age.

He selected poems from Blake’s Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs of Experience (1794).

The oboe launches the first song Infant Joy with a motif which recurs during the song and sets the pastoral, reflective mood of the cycle. T S Eliot remarked on the terrifying honesty of A poison tree and there is a certain truthfulness apparent in the music at the outcome. The piper gives the oboe the opportunity to create a folksy atmosphere. Vaughan Williams provided similar episodes in his early symphonies. He once said he did not like London, one of Blake’s most terrifying visions from Songs of Experience, nonetheless he includes it in a setting for tenor solo. It is the first of three such solo settings. The oboe returns in The lamb which reverts to the wistful rural mood of the opening. The shepherd is the second tenor solo, with a distinctly folk-song mood.  Blake’s mystical ideas are heard in Ah! Sunflower  while the wailing oboe creates the mood for Cruelty has a human heart. The divine image is the last of the tenor solos, a hymn-like sequence with a conciliatory ending. Rather than finish at this point, Vaughan Williams adds Eternity, where the oboe ends the cycle with a ppp A natural as the music seems to float into space.