Hyperion Records

The Deaf Woman's Courtship
First line:
Old woman, old woman, are you fond of smoking?
Appalachian folk song collected by Cecil Sharp
1952; composed as a duet for Kathleen Ferrier and Peter Pears
author of text
collected by Cecil Sharp

'Britten: Songs & Proverbs of William Blake' (CDA67778)
Britten: Songs & Proverbs of William Blake
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67778 

The Deaf Woman's Courtship
In 1952, Britten prepared a comic duet arrangement of the Appalachian folksong ‘The Deaf Woman’s Courtship’ for Kathleen Ferrier to sing as part of a national tour with Pears and Britten conceived with the aim of raising funds for the English Opera Group. According to Britten’s memoir of Ferrier, she sang her part ‘in a feeble, cracked voice, the perfect reply to Peter’s magisterial roar. A masterpiece of humour, which had the audience rocking, but never broke the style of the rest of the concert.’ After Ferrier’s untimely death, the contralto part was taken over by Norma Procter, though the arrangement was to remain unpublished until 2001.

from notes by Mervyn Cooke © 2010

Track-specific metadata
Details for CDA67778 track 32
Recording date
13 December 2008
Recording venue
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. Britten: Songs & Proverbs of William Blake (CDA67778)
    Disc 1 Track 32
    Release date: June 2010
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