Hyperion Records

Alfred Edward Housman

born: 26 March 1859
died: 30 April 1936
country: United Kingdom

Alfred Edward Housman was born at Fockbury, near Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, on 26 March 1859, the eldest of Sarah and Edward Housman’s seven children. The most significant event of his childhood was the death of his mother on his twelfth birthday. The anguish he felt, made infinitely deeper by the cruel coincidence, led him to doubt the Christian Revelation. Though he did not abandon the idea of a God, he could only think of Him as indifferent to the sufferings of the world. The gradual realization of his own homosexuality only deepened his pessimism. In a situation without rhyme or reason, all that was left for the man of honour was to endure and do what must be done, even though the doing would be in vain. It was this stoic philosophy that was to give his poems much of their appeal.

The facts of Housman’s life are simple enough. After taking a poor degree in Classics at St John’s College, Oxford (1882), he spent ten years (1882 to 1892) working as a civil servant in Her Majesty’s Patent Office. During this time a series of brilliant papers established him as an outstanding Classical scholar and in 1892 he was appointed Professor of Greek and Latin at University College, London. In 1911 he became Kennedy Professor of Latin at Cambridge University where, as a Fellow of Trinity College, he remained for the rest of his life. He died on 30 April 1936, famous both as a Classical scholar (particularly for his work on the poet Manilius) and as the author of A Shropshire Lad and Last Poems (1922). A third volume, More Poems, was garnered from his manuscripts and published posthumously in 1936.

That Housman’s poems are singularly apt for music is beyond question. Influenced by the powerful simplicities of Shakespeare’s songs, the clear, precise forms of the Border Ballads, and the melancholy irony of Heinrich Heine’s lyrics, they combine deeply-felt emotions with a classical elegance and simplicity of form and language. They are short and to the point; and, though subtle, the thought-patterns are never so impacted as to make it difficult for music to function at its own level. Next to Shakespeare and Robert Herrick they are one of the greatest gifts an English poet ever made to English composers. (A Shropshire Lad is recorded complete – in verse and song – on Hyperion CDD22044; musical settings are by Butterworth, Orr, Ireland, Moeran, Horder, Berkeley and Barber.)

from notes by Michael Hurd 1990

Albums
'Housman: A Shropshire Lad' (CDD22044)
Housman: A Shropshire Lad
Buy by post £8.40 CDD22044  2CDs Dyad (2 for the price of 1) Composers of World War I  
'Barber: Songs' (CDA67528)
Barber: Songs
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67528 
'Bliss: A Knot of Riddles & other songs' (CDA67188/9)
Bliss: A Knot of Riddles & other songs
Buy by post £16.00 CDA67188/9  2CDs Composers of World War I  
'Butterworth: A Shropshire Lad; Vaughan Williams: Songs of Travel' (CDA67378)
Butterworth: A Shropshire Lad; Vaughan Williams: Songs of Travel
Buy by post £8.40 CDA67378  Composers of World War I  
'Gibbs: Songs' (CDA67337)
Gibbs: Songs
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67337 
'Gurney: Ludlow and Teme & The Western Playland; Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge' (CDH55187)
Gurney: Ludlow and Teme & The Western Playland; Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge
Buy by post £4.40 CDH55187  Helios (Hyperion's budget label) Composers of World War I  
'Ireland: Songs' (CDA67261/2)
Ireland: Songs
Buy by post £20.00 CDA67261/2  2CDs  
'Romantic Residues' (CDA67725)
Romantic Residues
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67725 
'Somervell: Maud & A Shropshire Lad' (CDH55089)
Somervell: Maud & A Shropshire Lad
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55089  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)   Download currently discounted
'Songs my father taught me' (CDA67290)
Songs my father taught me
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67290 
'Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge; Gurney: Ludlow and Teme & The Western Playland' (CDH55187)
Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge; Gurney: Ludlow and Teme & The Western Playland
Buy by post £4.40 CDH55187  Helios (Hyperion's budget label) Composers of World War I  
'Vaughan Williams: Songs' (CDA67168)
Vaughan Williams: Songs
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67168 
'Vaughan Williams: Songs of Travel; Butterworth: A Shropshire Lad' (CDA67378)
Vaughan Williams: Songs of Travel; Butterworth: A Shropshire Lad
Buy by post £8.40 CDA67378  Composers of World War I  
'A Treasury of English Song' (HYP30)
A Treasury of English Song
HYP30  Super-budget price sampler — Deleted  
'Hyperion monthly sampler – August 2014' (HYP201408)
Hyperion monthly sampler – August 2014
HYP201408  Download-only monthly sampler  
On other labels
'No Exceptions No Exemptions' (SIGCD401)
No Exceptions No Exemptions
SIGCD401  Download only 10 November 2014 Release  
'Gurney: Ludlow and Teme; Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge; Warlock: The Curlew' (CKD296)
Gurney: Ludlow and Teme; Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge; Warlock: The Curlew
CKD296  Download only  
'Herbert: Songs' (CKD335)
Herbert: Songs
CKD335  Download only  
'Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge; Warlock: The Curlew; Gurney: Ludlow and Teme' (CKD296)
Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge; Warlock: The Curlew; Gurney: Ludlow and Teme
CKD296  Download only  
Alphabetical listing of all musical works
1887  No 1 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
A Cycle of Seven Songs from A Shropshire Lad (Orr)
A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
A Shropshire Lad (Somervell)
Along the field  No 2 of Along the Field (Vaughan Williams)
Along the Field (Vaughan Williams)
Along the field as we came by  First line to The aspens, No 5 of The Western Playland (Gurney)
Along the field as we came by  No 26 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
As through the wild green hills of Wyre  No 37 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
Be still, my soul, be still  No 48 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
Because I liked you better  No 5 of Five Songs, Op 14 No 3 (Berkeley)
Bredon Hill  No 5 of On Wenlock Edge (Vaughan Williams)
Bredon Hill and other songs (Butterworth)
Bring, in this timeless grave to throw  No 46 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
Clun  No 6 of On Wenlock Edge (Vaughan Williams)
Epilogue  No 6 of The land of lost content (Ireland)
Fancy's Knell  No 7 of Along the Field (Vaughan Williams)
Far I hear the bugle blow  First line to The Day of Battle, No 56 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
Far in a western brookland  No 2 of Ludlow and Teme (Gurney)
Far in a western brookland (Moeran)
Farewell to barn and stack and tree  No 8 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
Five Songs, Op 14 No 3 (Berkeley)
From Clee to heaven the beacon burns  First line to 1887, No 1 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
From far, from eve and morning  No 3 of Three Songs for Jennie (Skempton)
From far, from eve and morning  No 2 of On Wenlock Edge (Vaughan Williams)
From far, from eve and morning  No 32 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
Goal and wicket  No 3 of The land of lost content (Ireland)
Golden friends  No 3 of The Western Playland (Gurney)
Good-bye  No 6 of Along the Field (Vaughan Williams)
Hawthorn Time (Ireland)
He would not stay for me  No 3 of Five Songs, Op 14 No 3 (Berkeley)
Here the hangman stops his cart  First line to The Carpenter's Son, No 47 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
High the vanes of Shrewsbury gleam  First line to The Welsh Marches, No 28 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
Hughley Steeple  No 6 of A Cycle of Seven Songs from A Shropshire Lad (Orr)
I hoed and trenched and weeded  No 63 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
If it chance your eye offend you  No 45 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
If truth in hearts that perish  First line to The vain desire, No 4 of The land of lost content (Ireland)
In boyhood  No 2 of We'll to the woods no more (Ireland)
In my own shire, if I was sad  No 41 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
In summertime on Bredon  First line to Bredon Hill, No 1 of Bredon Hill and other songs (Butterworth)
In summertime on Bredon  First line to Bredon Hill, No 5 of On Wenlock Edge (Vaughan Williams)
In summertime on Bredon (Peel)
In the morning  No 4 of Along the Field (Vaughan Williams)
In valleys of springs and rivers  No 50 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
In valleys of springs of rivers  First line to Clun, No 6 of On Wenlock Edge (Vaughan Williams)
Into my heart an air that kills  First line to The far country, No 7 of The Western Playland (Gurney)
Into my heart an air that kills (Orr)
Is my team ploughing?  No 6 of Six Songs from A Shropshire Lad (Butterworth)
Is my team ploughing?  No 3 of On Wenlock Edge (Vaughan Williams)
Is my team ploughing?  No 6 of The Western Playland (Gurney)
It nods and curtseys and recovers  No 16 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
Ladslove  No 2 of The land of lost content (Ireland)
Leave your home behind, lad  First line to The Recruit, No 3 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
Loitering with a vacant eye  No 51 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
Look not in my eyes  No 3 of Six Songs from A Shropshire Lad (Butterworth)
Loveliest of trees  No 1 of Six Songs from A Shropshire Lad (Butterworth)
Loveliest of Trees  No 2 of The Western Playland (Gurney)
Loveliest of trees (Herbert)
Ludlow and Teme (Gurney)
Ludlow fair  No 4 of Ludlow and Teme (Gurney)
March  No 8 of The Western Playland (Gurney)
March  No 10 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
Now hollow fires burn out to black  No 30 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
Oh fair enough are sky and plain  No 2 of Bredon Hill and other songs (Butterworth)
Oh fair enough are sky and plain (Moeran)
Oh see how thick the goldcup flowers  First line to Good-bye, No 6 of Along the Field (Vaughan Williams)
Oh see how thick the goldcup flowers  No 3 of Three Songs from A Shropshire Lad (Orr)
Oh, sick I am to see you  First line to The new mistress, No 34 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
Oh, when I was in love with you  No 4 of On Wenlock Edge (Vaughan Williams)
Oh, when I was in love with you  No 18 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
On moonlit heath and lonesome bank  No 9 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
On the idle hill of summer  No 4 of Bredon Hill and other songs (Butterworth)
On the idle hill of summer  No 5 of Ludlow and Teme (Gurney)
On Wenlock Edge  No 1 of On Wenlock Edge (Vaughan Williams)
On Wenlock Edge (Vaughan Williams)
On Wenlock Edge the wood's in trouble  No 31 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
On your midnight pallet lying  No 11 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
Once in the wind of morning  First line to The Merry Guide, No 42 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
Others, I am not the first  No 30 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
Reveille  No 1 of The Western Playland (Gurney)
Reveille  No 4 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
Say, lad, have you things to do?  No 24 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
Shot? so quick, so clean an ending?  No 44 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
Six Songs from A Shropshire Lad (Butterworth)
Terence, this is stupid stuff  No 62 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
The aspens  No 5 of The Western Playland (Gurney)
The boys are up the woods with day  First line to The heart's desire (Ireland)
The Carpenter's Son  No 47 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
The Day of Battle  No 56 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
The Encounter  No 5 of The land of lost content (Ireland)
The far country  No 7 of The Western Playland (Gurney)
The half-moon westers low  No 3 of Along the Field (Vaughan Williams)
The heart's desire (Ireland)
The Immortal Part  No 43 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
The Isle of Portland (Orr)
The lad came to the door at night  First line to The True Lover, No 53 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
The lads in their hundreds  No 5 of Six Songs from A Shropshire Lad (Butterworth)
The lads in their hundreds to Ludlow come in for the fair  First line to Ludlow fair, No 4 of Ludlow and Teme (Gurney)
The land of lost content (Ireland)
The Lent Lily  No 1 of The land of lost content (Ireland)
The Lent Lily  No 7 of Ludlow and Teme (Gurney)
The Merry Guide  No 42 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
The new mistress  No 34 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
The Recruit  No 3 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
The sigh that heaves the grasses  No 5 of Along the Field (Vaughan Williams)
The star-filled seas are smooth tonight  First line to The Isle of Portland (Orr)
The street sounds to the soldiers' tread  First line to The Encounter, No 5 of The land of lost content (Ireland)
The sun and noon to higher air  First line to March, No 10 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
The sun at noon to higher air  First line to March, No 8 of The Western Playland (Gurney)
The time you won your town the race  First line to To an athlete dying young, No 19 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
The True Lover  No 53 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
The vain desire  No 4 of The land of lost content (Ireland)
The vane on Hughley steeple  First line to Hughley Steeple, No 6 of A Cycle of Seven Songs from A Shropshire Lad (Orr)
The Welsh Marches  No 28 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
The Western Playland (Gurney)
The winds out of the west land blow  No 38 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
There pass the careless people  No 14 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
Think no more, lad  No 4 of Six Songs from A Shropshire Lad (Butterworth)
This time of year (Orr)
Three Songs for Jennie (Skempton)
Three Songs from A Shropshire Lad (Orr)
Three Songs, Op 2 (Barber)
'Tis spring; come out to ramble  First line to The Lent Lily, No 1 of The land of lost content (Ireland)
'Tis spring; come out to ramble  First line to The Lent Lily, No 7 of Ludlow and Teme (Gurney)
'Tis time, I think, by Wenlock town  No 3 of Ludlow and Teme (Gurney)
'Tis time, I think, by Wenlock town  First line to Hawthorn Time (Ireland)
'Tis time, I think, by Wenlock town (Bliss)
To an athlete dying young  No 19 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
Twice a week  No 4 of The Western Playland (Gurney)
Twice a week the winter through  First line to Goal and wicket, No 3 of The land of lost content (Ireland)
Wake, the silver dusk returning  First line to Reveille, No 4 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
Wake: the silver dusk returning  First line to Reveille, No 1 of The Western Playland (Gurney)
We'll to the woods no more  No 1 of Along the Field (Vaughan Williams)
We'll to the woods no more (Ireland)
Westward on the high-hilled plains  No 55 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
When I came last to Ludlow  No 58 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
When I meet the morning beam  First line to The Immortal Part, No 43 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
When I was one-and-twenty  No 2 of Six Songs from A Shropshire Lad (Butterworth)
When I was one-and-twenty  No 6 of Ludlow and Teme (Gurney)
When I was one-and-twenty (Bliss)
When I was one-and-twenty (Gibbs)
When I watch the living meet  No 2 of A Cycle of Seven Songs from A Shropshire Lad (Orr)
When lads were home from labour  First line to Fancy's Knell, No 7 of Along the Field (Vaughan Williams)
When smoke stood up from Ludlow  No 1 of Ludlow and Teme (Gurney)
When smoke stood up from Ludlow  No 7 of A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
When the lad for longing sighs  No 3 of Bredon Hill and other songs (Butterworth)
White in the moon the long road lies (Horder)
With rue my heart is laden  No 5 of Bredon Hill and other songs (Butterworth)
With rue my heart is laden  First line to Golden friends, No 3 of The Western Playland (Gurney)
With rue my heart is laden  No 8 of Along the Field (Vaughan Williams)
With rue my heart is laden  No 2 of Three Songs, Op 2 (Barber)
You smile upon your friend today  First line to Epilogue, No 6 of The land of lost content (Ireland)
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