Weʼve raised $0 to publish a new countertenor song cycle in memory of composer George Butterworth (1885 – 1916) and countertenor John Marshall
- Closed on Thursday, 7th December 2017
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Recently I got together with a composer friend from my New York Polyphony days to write a countertenor song cycle ―a voice and genre significantly under-catered for―that would serve as an appropriate and living memorial to both composer George Butterworth (killed at the Somme in 1916), and countertenor and Tunbridge Wells music man and dear friend, the late John Marshall.
'We’ll to the Woods No More' tells the story of the WW1 soldier through a series of vignettes with poetry by A.E. Housman and music by Gregory W. Brown. Greg's music brings to life Housman’s juxtapositions of bugles and gunfire, killing and death, home, hope and love, through voice and piano―giving each its own vivid expression―the result of a day of us improvising together with the poetry.
When we think of the great song cycles, we think of 'Dichterliebe' or 'Winterreise', and in the 20th century, 'Songs of Travel', 'The Shropshire Lad', or 'Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo'. Each is a fusion of poetic genius and compositional dexterity, and each casts the listener into a realm of emotions, with performers working hard to erode boundaries between drama and art song. Song cycles encapsulate the internal and the external worlds of both poet and composer, and create their own window to another place and time.
Notably conspicuous by its absence, is a song cycle for countertenor. Besides songs and operas by Handel, Purcell and Britten, there are few songs for the English countertenor and no major song cycle. The low, earthy English instrument, formed by the Anglican choral training ground, is known for a clarity of text essential for story-telling in microcosm and makes it a natural pairing for the genre.
With your help, publishing 'We’ll to the Woods No More' will ensure it becomes a lasting addition to the repertoire, sheds new light on WW1 for a new generation, and forms a fitting tribute to two men who left us too soon.
- 1 year ago
Geoffrey Silver1 year ago
Here's how we did it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_jMc4WB1jY
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