Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Spring Sorrow

The sun was glorious today, and all the time I was teaching the birds were feeding from the feeder hanging just by the window in my music room. I joke sometimes and tell my pupils that it gives me something to watch if I get bored - actually it has the exact opposite effect! They perch on the edge of the feeder and cock their heads and listen, and as they listen I wonder what exactly they are listening too, and can I hear it?!

Siskins abound here, and I want you to look very carefully at the photo of the Siskin. His tongue is UP ! Flatten it and touch your bottom teeth - do these birds know nothing about singing!!

Do they prefer sopranos, or tenors, do they hear sharp or flat, or more likely do they think they have competition on the mating front!

All the years I worked in London I never saw any daylight in winter as I was on the
4th floor of a wonderful Victorian building, where the round window in my teaching room was higher than the students when they were standing - no distraction you see!

In summer we baked/broiled/roasted - (see I know the terms I just can't make it happen in the oven!). Now I can listen to the strains of Spring Sorrow by John Ireland, with all it's hope for the buds bursting in spring, and watch it unfold before my eyes - paradise indeed.

Spring Sorrow, a great little gem, with words by Rupert Brooke, written in 1912. The melody soars up for the phrase 'I never thought the spring would come.....or my heart wake anymore' It is 3 pages of the most perfect English Art Song, and I have taught it many times. The more mature singers understand the sentiment, and the young singers allow the tone to vibrate with anticipation. 50% from each and we would have the perfect singer!

On the whole I think I prefer the little imperfections each brings to the song, to make it their own!

Sorry John!


  1. I sing all the time, to my cats. I'm not sure if I am very good at it though, but it makes me feel good about life. I used to have a job as the church cleaner, I would let myself in, switch on the pa system, choose a hymn, and belt it out. I would like to listen to my voice but I don't have any means of recording it.

    It sounds lovely where you are.

  2. Many thanks for the comment! Keep singing and let rip it is such a great release - and cheaper than therapy!
    Kind regards