Sora
Micheal Head

Story

A Piper was written by Michael Head, a notable English composer whose work consisted mostly of songs. The words are by Seamus O` Sullivan. 

I must admit I was quite taken by the way the Head showcases the voice and learned a fair number of his songs during a particular period of my vocal development.

Lyrics

A piper in the streets today
Set up and tuned, and started to play
And away, away, away on the tide
Of his music we started: on every side
Doors and windows were opened wide,
And men left down their work and came,
And women with petticoats coloured like flame,
And little bare feet that were blue with cold,
Went dancing, dancing back to the age of gold
And all the world went gay, went gay
For half and hour in the streets today

Sora
Music: Sir John Stevensen Lyrics: Thomas Moore

Story

There is a melancholy to The Last Rose of Summer, that has always called to me. Ever as a musical student I was drawn to songs of nostalgia, longing and sorrow, and spent my youth immersing myself in swoon worthy romantic music. The more heart-renching the better and if it could bring from my a gasp of beauty and tears to my eyes, then I was in love with it.

The words were written by the Irish poet, Thomas Moore and set to music by Sir John Stevenson.

Lyrics

Tis the last rose of summer left blooming alone, 
All her lovely companions are faded and gone!
No flower of her kindred, no rosebud is nigh
To reflect back her blushes or give sigh for sigh

I`ll not leave thee thou lone one to pine on the stem;
Since the lovely are sleeping, go sleep thou with them.
Thus kindly I scatter thy leaves o`er the bed, 
Where thy mates of the garden lie scentless and dead.

So soon I may follow when friendships decay,
And from love`s shining circle the gems drop away
When true hearts lie withered and fond ones are flown,
O who could inhabit this bleak world alone?

Sora
Somerset Folk Song arranged by Benjamen Britten

Story

Further proof that I am sucker for a tragic love story.

Lyrics

The trees they grow so high and the leaves they do grow green,
And many a cold winter`s night my love and I have seen,
Of a cold winter`s night, my love, you and I alone have been
Whilst my bonny boy is young he`s a growing,
Growing, growing, whilst my bonny boy is young he`s a growing

O father dearest father, you`ve done to me great wrong
You`ve tied me to a boy when you know he is too young
O daughter, dearest dauther, if you wait a little while,
A lady you shall be while he`s growing.
Growing, growing, a lady you shall be while he`s growing.

I`ll send your love to college all for a year or two,
And then in the meantime he will do for you;
I`ll buy him white ribbons, tie them round his bonny waist
To let the ladies know that he`s married
Married, married, to let the ladies know that he`s married

I went up to the college and looked over the wall,
Saw four and twenty gentlemen playing at bat and ball
I called for my true love, but they would not let him come,
All because he was a young boy and growing
Growing, growing, all because he was a young boy and growing

At the age of sixteen he was a married man
And at the age of seventeen he was father to a son
And at the age of eighteen the grass grew over him,
Cruel death soon put an end to his growing
Growing, growing, cruel death soon put an end to his growing

And now my love is dead and in his grave doth lie
The green grass grow o`er him so very very high
I`ll sit and I`ll mourn his fate until the day I die
And I`ll watch all o`er his child while he`s growing
Growing, growing, and I`ll watch all o`er his child while he`s growing

Sora
Arranged by Vaughn Wiliams

Story

What I love the most about this song is that it is in 5/4 time, giving it, in my opinion, a feeling of weightlessness, as if the music was set free from its constraints.

Arranged by R. Vaughn Williams. A side note, I played `Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis` by Vaughn Williams as a teenager, and it formed a deep impression on me, with these sweeping rolls of sound that sounded like the waves on the ocean to me.

Searching for Lambs - Winds of Change

 


Lyrics

As I went out one May morning
One May morning betime,
I met a maid from home had strayed
Just as the sun did shine.

`What makes you rise so soon my dear, 
Your journey to pursue?
Your pretty little feet, they tread so sweet
Strike off the morning dew.`

`I`m going to feed my father`s flock
His young and tender lambs
That over hiles and over dales
Lie waiting for their dams`.

`O stay! O stay! You handsome maid
And rest a moment here
For there is none but you alone
That I do love so dear

How gloriously the sun doth shine
How pleasant is the air
I`d rather rest on a true love`s breast
Then any other where, 

For I am thine and thou art mine
No man shall uncomfort thee;
We`ll join our hands in wedded bands
And married we shall be.

Sora
Arranged by John Corigliano

Lyrics

A-down the hill I went at morn, a lovely maid I spied
Her hair was bright as the dew that wets
Sweet Anners verdant side
`Now where go ye, sweet maid?` said I
She raised her eyes of blue, and smiled and said
The boy I`ll wed I`m to meet in the foggy dew!`

Go hide your bloom, ye roses red
And droop ye lilies rare
For you must pale for very shame
Before a maid so fair
Says I `Dear maid, will ye be my bride?`
Beneath her eyes of blue she smiled and said
`The boy I`ll wed I`m to meet in the foggy dew

A down the hill I went at morn
A singing I did go,
A down the hill I went at morn
She answered soft and low
`Yes, I will be your own dear bride
And I know that you`ll be true`.
Then sighed in my arms are all her charms
They were hidden in the foggy dew.

Sora
Lyrics by Seosamh MacCathmhaoil Arranged by Geoffrey Pratley

Lyrics

Where Lagan stream sings lullaby
There blows a lily fair
The twilight gleam is in her eye
The night is on her hair
And like a love sick lenanshee*
She hath my heart in thrall;
Nor life I owe, nor liberty
For love is lord of all
And often when the beetle`s horn
Has lulled the eve to sleep,
I steal unto her shieling* lorn
And through the dooring peep
There on the cricket singing stone
She spares the bogwood fire
And hums in sad sweet undertone
The song of heart`s desire

*lenanshee = fairy lover
*shieling = small highland cottage

Sora
Music by Michael Head, Lyrics by Henry Vaughan

Lyrics

Some kind herbs here, though low and far
Watch for and know their loving star
O let no star compare with thee,
Nor any herb out-duty me
So shall my nights and mornings be
Thy time to shine and mine to see
So shall my nights and mornings be

Sora
Lyrics by Robert Louis Stevenson. Arranged by Jay Althouse

Story

A traditional Scottish song telling the tale of the escape of the pretender, Charles Edward Stuart (the Bonnie Prince Charles) to the Isle of Skye after his defeat at the devastating battle at Culloden in 1746. The lyrics used here are not the traditional lyrics but are written by Robert Louis Stevenson. Arranged by Jay Althouse

Lyrics

Sing me a song of a lad that is gone
Say could that lad be I
Merry of soul, he sailed on a day
Over the sea to Skye.

Give me again, all that was there
Give me the sun that shone
Give me the eyes, give me the soul
Give me that lad that`s gone

Sing me a song of a lad that is gone
Say could that lad be I
Merry of soul he sailed on a day
Over the sea to Skye

Billows and breeze, island and seas
Mountains of rain and sun
All that was good, all that was fair
All that was me is gone

Sing me a song of a lad that is gone
Say could that lad be I
Merry of day he sailed on a day
Over the sea to Skye.

Sora
An English Folk song based on a poem by William Butler Yeats which appears in his book `The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems`. Arrnaged by John Corigliano.

Story

The word Salley comes from an Irish word `saileach` which means willow.

Lyrics

Down by the Salley Gardens, my love and I did meet
She passed the Salley Gardens on little snow white feet
She bid me take love easy
As the leaves grows on the tree
But I was young and foolish
And with her did not agree

In a field by a river my love and I did stand
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand
She bid me take life easy 
As the grass grows on the weirs but I was young and foolish and now am full of tears

Sora
An Irish folk song arranged by Grace Williams.

Story

The lyrics of this song remind me a bit of Penelope waiting for Odysseus, sad and alone stitching on her loom his shroud waiting for him to return. Of course this song is in no way related to the Greek story of Penelope and Odysseus, but it makes me think of it.

Lyrics

One night as I sat weaving at my loom
All my thoughts were filled with dark and wintry gloom
My joy had long departed
My youthful years had flown away
Flown away and left me all too soon
And alas, upon my spirit care was strewn

Then slowly I arose and left my loom
And in sorrow wandered from my lonely room
A myriad stars were shining
And all the heavene were bright and clear
Bright with silv`ry radiance from the moon
And the nightengale poured for her silv`ry tune

Such beauty eased my heart and I came home
To my loom, to my loom.

Sora
Arranged by R. Vaughn Williams

Story

What is WITH all these folk songs calling the women `handsome`. Seriously…that is NO way to get a woman.

Lyrics

A lawyer he went out one day
A riding through the city
It was there he met with a handsome maid
And he thought her so sweet and pretty
`Good morning to you pretty maid and whither are you going?`
`I am going down yonder meadow` she said, `where my father he is mowing`
`I`ll take you up to London town and all such lovely places;
I will busk you into a silken gown, gold rings and gold chains and laces`
`I`ll have none of your London town and all such lovely places;
I will not be busked into a silken gown, gold rings and gold chains and laces`
And now she is a poor man`s wife, her husband dearly loves her
She lives a sweet and contented life
There`s no lady in town above her.

Sora
Lyrics by Seosamh Mac Cathmhaoil. Arranged by Geoffrey Pratley

Lyrics

Sleep o Babe for the red bee hums
The silent twilight`s fall
Eeval* from the grey rock comes
To wrap the world in thrall
A lyan van O, my child, my joy
My love and heart`s desire, 
The crickets sing you lullaby
Beside the dying fire

Dark is drawn and the green man`s thorn
Is wreathed in rings of fog
Sheevra sails his boat `til morn
Upon the starry bog
A lyan van O, the paly moon
Hath brimmed her cusp in dew
And weeps to hear the sad sleep song
I sing my love to you

Sleep o Babe for the red bee hums
The silent twilight`s fall
Eeval from the grey rock comes
To wrap the world in thrall
A lyan van O, my child, my joy
My love and heart`s desire
The crickets sing you lullaby
Beside the dying fire

Sora
Lyrics by Bronnie Taylor, music by Michael Head

Lyrics

I met a singer on the hill
He wore a tattered cloak
His cap was torn, his shoes were worn
And dreamily he spoke
fa la la la la la
fa la la la la la
A wrinkled face, a cheery smile
And a noby stick had he
His eyes were grey and far away
And as changeful as the sea
And as changeful as the sea
I offered him a piece of gold
And hope that he would stay
No word he spoke but shook his head
And smiled and went his way
fa la la la la la
fa la la la la la
I watched the singer down the hill
My eyes went following after
I thought I heard a fairy flute
And the sound of fairy laughter,
fa la la la la la
I thought I heard a fairy flute
And the sound of fairy laughter
fa la la la la la

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