Paul Johnson. Sacred Choral Music and Solo Songs
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SONGS

Song Cycle: MADAM EGLENTYNE IN SPRING (formerly 'The Prioress in Spring') Soprano and Organ. Medieval texts, both sacred and distinctly secular provided the impetus for this cycle of five songs for Soprano and organ.

Madam Eglentyne Her Tango. A recitative and tango aria introducing Chaucer's Prioress.

A Waltz for St. Valentyne. As the birds pair off,  the Prioress's own yearnings evoke a paean to St. Valentyne,climaxing with the love motif from “The Ring'.

A Hymn to Jesus. This anthem for Treble voices (see above) was inserted to remind Eglentyne of her religious calling; in the Middle Ages, sacred and profane were often bedfellows.

Ostinato for the Queen of Heaven. Charles, duc d'Orleans, was captured at Agincourt: during his imprisonment in Dover Castle, he wrote much poetry. Here, with signs of Nature waking up after the winter cold, he prays to the Virgin Mary for a peace that could set him free at last.

Sumer is icomen in. The words of the famous Early Medieval canon are here set to provide a rollicking ending. Exuberant and healthily vulgar, the Prioress here throws caution to winds to end the set on a high note.

AUDEN SONGS. For Medium voice and organ or piano.Composed for Charles Humphries (countertenor). High Voice available.

Make This Night Lovable.The Moon shines on silvery landscapes, on the poet and on his This idyll is shattered by the thought of his lover's possible infidelity.

Who's Who.“A shilling life will give you all the facts”, writes the poet of a great man, honoured for his many achievements. The song echoes this public persona with a 'Let's-all-go-down-the-Strand'confidence.That is, until we learn that “he sighed for one who answered some of his long marvellous letters but kept none”.

At Last the Secret is Out. The two previous songs end on a glum note, so the group ends in good humour, the pleasure of gossip.It is set in a 'supper-club-jazz' style.

SONGS IN MANUSCRIPT.

Sigh No More, Ladies. Composed in Elizabethan style for a Shakespeare performance.

He Loved the Brook's Soft Sound. My Love, Thou Art a Nosegay Sweet. Britten and Richard Rodney Bennett are among those who have been inspired by John Clare, who was quite a musician himself; his father was a popular local singer. These two songs are therefore in a simple 'folk idiom'.