I love music, and I love poetry, and I have a particular fondness for classic poetry set to original or, occasionally, traditional or classical music.
A beautiful example of this is the song Glimmering Girl by Irish soprano Méav Ní Mhaolchatha, from her album The Calling. It is set to an original tune by Méav and Craig Leon, but the words belong to a beautiful poem: The Song of Wandering Aengus by William Butler Yeats.
I went out to the hazel wood, Because a fire was in my head, And cut and peeled a hazel wand, And hooked a berry to a thread; And when white moths were on the wing, And moth-like stars were flickering out, I dropped the berry in a stream And caught a little silver trout.
When I had laid it on the floor I went to blow the fire a-flame, But something rustled on the floor, And someone called me by my name: It had become a glimmering girl With apple blossom in her hair Who called me by my name and ran And faded through the brightening air.
Though I am old with wandering Through hollow lands and hilly lands, I will find out where she has gone, And kiss her lips and take her hands; And walk among long dappled grass, And pluck till time and times are done, The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun.
One of the most enchanting little books one could possibly imagine!
Linnets & Valerians—also published as The Runaways—by Elizabeth Goudge is a perfect read for early summer; a children’s book for all ages, made of beautiful prose, everyday magic, and strawberry jam. I couldn’t recommend it more, and I couldn’t resist making a little playlist for it. It’s such a sweet, and such a beautiful novel, full of forests and flowers and animals and birds and bees and music and adventure. 🌿
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper is a wonderful book, although it is not quite as well-known as it should be. It is the second, eponymous, volume in a remarkably beautiful middle-grade series, influenced by nature, season and local mythology.
This little playlist shall capture the atmosphere of this book, the snow and the wind, and the long dark nights of Christmastime. The protagonist, an eleven year old boy named Will Stanton, comes from a musical family, is an Anglican choir boy—a charmingly unusual trait for the hero of a fantasy novel!—and traditional Caroling and Wassailing, as well as the use of music as a means of magic, make an important theme.
The melodies of Greensleeves and Good King Wenceslas in particular are highlighted and involved in the story.
Here blows, despite, or maybe because of, my excitement for the beginning of Spring, the last, cold Winter wind.
John Rutter’s Suite Antique: Prelude
Fantasia on Greensleeves
In The Bleak Midwinter (Holst)
Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind
The Sheep Beneath The Snow, The Cutty Wren, St. Stephen’s Day