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Track(s) taken from CDA67899

Over the rim of the moon

No 1: 1919, dedicated to Jean Adair and first performed at the Royal Albert Hall in 1919 by Astra Desmond; Nos 2-4: 1920
author of text

Ailish Tynan (soprano), Christopher Glynn (piano)
Recording details: January 2010
Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Mellor
Engineered by Andrew Mellor
Release date: January 2012
Total duration: 12 minutes 3 seconds

Cover artwork: Pale Moon (2002) by Ann Brain (b1944)
Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'Singers and pianist perform with conviction and style' (Gramophone)

'Head created the most inventive and sympathetic writing for voice and piano, in asymmetrical, free-flowing, artful settings of poets such as Walter De La Mare, John Masefield and Christina Rossetti … their expressive power is enhanced by the presence of the pianist Christopher Glynn and three particularly word-sensitive singers … a revelation' (BBC Music Magazine)

'As these meticulous performances demonstrate, Head was acutely sensitive to words. There are settings of Masefield and Yeats, Hardy, Joyce and Christina Rossetti here, and in every song each phrase is perfectly balanced, its accompaniment supremely tactful' (The Guardian)

'Head, a long-neglected member of the first world war generation of English composers, is coming back to favour, and this collection of 27 songs, deftly accompanied by Christopher Glynn, will do his reputation nothing but good … Head makes sure England's fields are forever green, even when the mood is tinged with sadness' (Financial Times)
During his war service in the munitions factory in 1918, Head counteracted the tedium of his labours by working on settings of four poems by the Irish poet Francis Ledwidge (1887–1917). The first, The ships of Arcady, was published in 1919, with the complete group following as a cycle the next year under the title Over the rim of the moon derived from the opening line of the last song. Dedicated to his teacher Jean Adair, it was first performed by Astra Desmond at the Royal Albert Hall in 1919. The piano sets the scene in The ships of Arcady, its sequence of serene chords suggesting the gathering dusk and still sea as the Arcadian ships glide out of harbour to the voice’s wistful melody. By contrast Beloved is a love-song with a passionate vocal line and ardent accompaniment. A blackbird singing is set to a rhythm of rocking regret and a melody tinged with sorrow in the face of loss. The final song, Nocturne, is a dramatic scena in miniature, marked by a recitative-like opening, menacing chords and urgent syncopated accompaniment in the second verse under­pinning the anguish embodied in the poem.

from notes by Andrew Burn © 2012

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