Those Fenny Bells Anthony Gilbert
|Score||ISMN 57036-030-7||£10.00||Buy now|
treble or mezzo-soprano, counter-tenor and vibraphone
Throughout his life, even when in Northampton Asylum, John Clare’s poetry constantly returned to the fenland countryside of his youth, celebrating in particular three fond memories: Mary, his first love, birds of the countryside and church bells. Those Fenny Bells takes his first bell poem, written while still living at Helford, and combines it with assonant fenland place-names, playing the part of bells, perhaps, sung by the treble. The melodies for both voices involve ‘Cambridge surprise’, a local change-ringing method. Assonance is used to combine vocal heterophony.
High Quadring Cor-by Stragglethorpe Gra-
I’ve often on a sabbath day
-by Pipewell Twy-well
Where pastoral quiet dwells
Teigh Hun- dle Hou- ses New York Aisby
Lain down among the new-mown hay
to Whisby Spital Beels-
To listen distant bells
-by Bleasby Gunby Hund - dle Hou-
That beautifully flung the sound
-ses Quorn Lee Eye Green
Upon the quiet wind
High Week - ley Gloos-ton Brere - house Bar
While beans in blossom breathed around
Hag - worthing-ham Red - mile
A fragrance o’er the mind.
And Pipe-well Sib- sey Bils-by Teigh
And I have listened till I felt
Great Gid ding Gaul-by Irth-
A feeling not in words
-ling-bo -rough Glooston Bulby Twy - well
A love that rudest moods would melt
Nose - ley Lowes - by Bur-
When those sweet sounds were heard.
-town Ped-war-dine Shoby Scrane End
A melancholy joy at rest,
and Threddlethorpe All Saints
A pleasurable pain,
Aby Dog-dyke Stragglethorpe Edith Wes-
A love, a rapture of the breast
-ton Col- ly - wes - ton Scrane
That nothing will explain.
Eye Green Ab Kettleby Han - by Gra -A
dream of beauty that displays
-by Wrangle Warboys
Ab Dal - by Goad - by Gaul - by Ais-
That all the world in all its ways
-by Hop Pole Teigh Wymes-
Finds not to realize.
-wold Oadby Theddle - thorpe-All - Saints
All idly stretched upon the hay,
Irth - ling-borough Stainby eye
The wind-flirt fanning by,
Pode Hole Lowes-by Pidley Fen Twy-
How soft, how sweetly swept away
-well Hum-by Ho-by Guy’s
The music of the sky.
HeadWhissendine Wasps Nest Hun - dle Hou -
The ear it lost and caught the sound
-ses Bushby Bunny Quorn
Swelled beautifully on:
Teigh Spital-in-the-Street a Wran-
A fitful melody, a round
-gle Week - ley Bur - ton-le - Coggles
Of sweetness heard and gone.
Pipe-well Scots Hole Eye Green Great Gid- ding
I felt such thoughts I yearned to sing
Old Quad - ring Irth - ling - bo-
The humming air’s delight
rough Deene to Bush - by War - boys Wing
That seemed to move theswallow’s wing
Tydd Glooston Twywell Dyke
Into a wilder flight.
Those Fenny Bells was commissioned by NMC Recordings Ltd for their 'Songbook' album, and first performed by Loré Lixenberg, mezzo-soprano, Michael Chance, counter-tenor and Andred Ball, vibraphone at Kings Place, London on 3rd April 2009.
- Loré Lixenberg, Michael Chance and Andred Ball, Kings Place, London, 3rd April 2009