Thursday, 22 July 2010

Anthony Rolfe Johnson "such the tenor man told"

Anthony Rolfe Johnson, the quintessential "English tenor", has passed away after a long struggle with Alzheimer's, which ended his career far too early. He was only 69. Here he is, singing Benjamin Britten's The Choirmaster's Burial from Winter Words (Thomas Hardy). "Such the tenor man told, when he had grown old"

An old choirmaster dies, and a young tenor chorister assumes they'll be able to sing him on his way, but the vicar says no, it's too cold, get it over as quickly as possible, bury him without ceremony..

"But 'twas said that, when
At the dead of next night
The vicar looked out,
There struck on his ken
Thronged roundabout,
Where the frost was graying
The headstoned grass,
A band all in white
Like the saints in church-glass,
Singing and playing
The ancient stave
By the choirmaster's grave.

Such the tenor man told
When he had grown old."
full text here (the world's best site for song texts - support it!)
Please look at other posts on this site, where there is lots on song, English music, George Butterworth and Benjamin Britten in particular. (use "search" and labels)

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