The two Opus 71 songs, to words by Henry Vaughan, are exquisitely written, deceptive in their (relative) simplicity. In The Shower
, the altos and tenors have semiquavers against the tune’s quavers in a couple of places, suggesting the ‘train of drops’ of the title. The second song, The Fountain
, refers to a stillness in nature (‘all the earth lay hush’); but then, ‘Only a little fountain lent Some use for ears’. The music of nature was always a potent force for Elgar: as a boy he had been found lying by the River Severn, ‘trying to fix the sounds’ as he wrote many years later.
from notes by Geoffrey Hodgkins © 1998