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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

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


Head: Songs
No Exceptions No Exemptions
Studio Master: SIGCD401Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Only a Singing Bird
Studio Master: SIGCD440Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


No 1: The ships of Arcady  Thro' the faintest filigree
Track 7 on CDA67899 [3'48]
Track 7 on SIGCD401 CD2 [3'36] Download only
Track 12 on SIGCD440 [3'15] Download only
No 2: Beloved  Nothing but sweet music wakes
Track 8 on CDA67899 [1'40]
No 3: A blackbird singing
Track 9 on CDA67899 [2'45]
Track 8 on SIGCD401 CD2 [2'41] Download only
No 4: Nocturne  The rim of the moon
Track 10 on CDA67899 [3'50]

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