Friday, April 09, 2010

Poetry Friday - George Meredith (1828-1909)

I'm continuing to enjoy links between music and poetry as Poetry Month advances.  Sad to say, when I played The Lark Ascending for my senior recital (cough, twenty years ago, cough), I never read the poem by which Vaughan Williams was inspired, but I'm very glad to have found it now.  It's definitely a poem to take in slowly.  The words seem to beat like the wings of the bird Meredith describes and I find I need to pause and rest in the midst of them.

The Lark Ascending

 HE rises and begins to round,
He drops the silver chain of sound
Of many links without a break,
In chirrup, whistle, slur and shake,
All intervolv’d and spreading wide,        5
Like water-dimples down a tide
Where ripple ripple overcurls
And eddy into eddy whirls;
A press of hurried notes that run
So fleet they scarce are more than one,        10
Yet changingly the trills repeat
And linger ringing while they fleet,
Sweet to the quick o’ the ear, and dear
To her beyond the handmaid ear. . .

Read the rest here.

The piece for violin and orchestra, like much, if not most, of the music of Vaughan Williams, is evocative of the English countryside, and it has been recorded by many violinists of note.  A recent CD by Nicola Benedetti includes the piece, and it is one of my favorite recordings of the work that I've heard so far.  But an mp3 version is not available to date, and the CD is an import, hence the hefty price tag.  You can enjoy some of the piece in the soloist's official music video of the piece, here on YouTube (non-embeddable, or I'd include it here), or listen to part of it on her website.

Here, however, is part one of the piece as played by the equally talented Janine Jansen:

This week's Poetry Friday round-up is being held at Paper Tigers.


Marjorie said...

We heard our first lark of the year yesterday - and lovely to have just reread the poem after a very long time. And, of course, V-W is just wonderful!

Fiddler said...

Marjorie, thanks very much for stopping by. I love Paper Tigers--what a great website! I love reading about children's books almost as much as I love reading them.

And I agree--Vaughan Williams is wonderful! I've recently heard some of his choral music for the first time--such a treat.

Stephen Bourque said...

I've always loved The Lark Ascending. That is so cool that you played it for your senior recital!

I'll have to explore some of the Vaughan Williams choral works, which I am completely unfamiliar with.