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Lieder Live #7 Britten


Sunday November 1 at 20:00 Oslo

Welcome to Lieder Live! A concert series where showcasing the greats of the lieder genre - European art songs from the last 300 years.
We have now reached live stream no 7, with songs by Benjamin Britten - the enigmatic English composer with rich & marvellous songs.

On all Lieder Live concerts I'm joined by my colleague the fabulous pianist Ole Christian Haagenrud


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Texts and Translations

B. Britten: Silver (from Tit for tat)

Slowly, silently, now the moon

Walks the night in her silver shoon;

This way, and that, she peers and sees

Silver fruit upon silver trees;

One by one the casements catch

Her beams beneath the silvery thatch;

Couched in his kennel, like a log,

With paws of silver sleeps the dog;

A harvest mouse goes scampering by,

With silver claws, and silver eye;

And moveless fish in the water gleam,

By silver reeds in a silver stream.

G. Finzi: Come away, come away, death (from Let us Garlands bring)

Come away, come away, death,

And in sad cypress let me be laid;

Fly away, fly away, breath;

I am slain by a fair cruel maid.

My shroud of white, stuck all with yew,

O prepare it!

 My part of death, no one so true

Did share it.


Not a flower, not a flower sweet,

On my black coffin let there be strown;

Not a friend, not a friend greet

My poor corpse, where my bones shall be thrown: A thousand, thousand sighs to save, 

Lay me, O where

Sad true lover never find my grave,

To weep there!

G. Finzi: Who is Silvia? (from Let us Garlands bring)

Who is Silvia? what is she?

That all our Swaines commend her?

Holy, faire, and wise is she.

The heavens such grace did lend her,

That she might admired be.


Is she kinde as she is faire?

For beauty lives with kindnesse:

Love doth to her eyes repaire,

To helpe him of his blindnesse:

And being help'd, inhabits there.


Then to Silvia, let us sing,

That Silvia is excelling;

She excels each mortall thing

Upon the dull earth dwelling.

To her let us Garlands bring.

G. Finzi: Fear no more the heat o' the sun (from Let us Garlands bring)

GUIDERIUS Fear no more the heat o' the sun,

Nor the furious winter's rages;

Thou thy worldly task hast done,

Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages:

Golden lads and girls all must,

As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.


ARVIRAGUS Fear no more the frown o' the great; Thou art past the tyrant's stroke;

Care no more to clothe and eat;

To thee the reed is as the oak:

The sceptre, learning, physic, must

All follow this, and come to dust.


GUIDERIUS Fear no more the lightning flash, ARVIRAGUS Nor the all-dreaded thunder-stone; GUIDERIUS Fear not slander, censure rash; ARVIRAGUS Thou hast finish'd joy and moan: GUIDERIUS, ARVIRAGUS

All lovers young, all lovers must

Consign to thee, and come to dust.


GUIDERIUS No exorciser harm thee!

ARVIRAGUS Nor no witchcraft charm thee! GUIDERIUS Ghost unlaid forbear thee! ARVIRAGUS Nothing ill come near thee! GUIDERIUS, ARVIRAGUS

Quiet consummation have;

And renowned be thy grave!

R. Vaughan Williams: Silent noon

Your hands lie open in the long fresh grass, -

The finger-points look through like rosy blooms: Your eyes smile peace.

The pasture gleams and glooms

'Neath billowing clouds that scatter and amass.


All round our nest, far as the eye can pass,

Are golden kingcup fields with silver edge

Where the cow-parsley skirts the hawthorn hedge.

'Tis visible silence, still as the hour glass.


Deep in the sunsearched growths the dragon-fly Hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky: - So this winged hour is dropt to us from above. Oh! clasp we to our hearts, for deathless dower, This close-companioned inarticulate hour

When twofold silence was the song of love.

R. Vaughan Williams: Let Beauty Awake (from Songs of Travel)

Let Beauty awake in the morn from beautiful dreams,

Beauty awake from rest!

Let Beauty awake

For Beauty's sake

In the hour when the birds awake in the brake

And the stars are bright in the west!


Let Beauty awake in the eve from the slumber of day, Awake in the crimson eve!

In the day's dusk end

When the shades ascend,

Let her wake to the kiss of a tender friend,

To render again and receive!

R. Vaughan Williams: The Infinite Shining Heavens (from Songs of Travel)

The infinite shining heavens

Rose, and I saw in the night

Uncountable angel stars

Showering sorrow and light.

I saw them distant as heaven,

Dumb and shining and dead,

And the idle stars of the night

Were dearer to me than bread.

Night after night in my sorrow

The stars looked over the sea,

Till lo! I looked in the dusk

And a star had come down to me.

R. Vaughan Williams: Whither must I wander? (from Songs of Travel)

Home no more home to me, whither must I wander?

Hunger my driver, I go where I must.

Cold blows the winter wind over hill and heather:

Thick drives the rain and my roof is in the dust.

Loved of wise men was the shade of my roof-tree,

The true word of welcome was spoken in the door -

Dear days of old with the faces in the firelight,

Kind folks of old, you come again no more.


Home was home then, my dear, full of kindly faces,

Home was home then, my dear, happy for the child.

Fire and the windows bright glittered on the moorland;

Song, tuneful song, built a palace in the wild.

Now when day dawns on the brow of the moorland,

Lone stands the house, and the chimney-stone is cold.

Lone let it stand, now the friends are all departed,

The kind hearts, the true hearts, that loved the place of old.


Spring shall come, come again, calling up the moorfowl, Spring shall bring the sun and rain, bring the bees and flowers;

Red shall the heather bloom over hill and valley,

Soft flow the stream through the even-flowing hours.

Fair the day shine as it shone on my childhood -

Fair shine the day on the house with open door;

Birds come and cry there and twitter in the chimney -

But I go for ever and come again no more.

B. Britten: Evening (from The way to the Tomb)

The red fox, the sun,

tears the throat of the evening;

makes the light of the day

bleed into the ocean.

The laced grace of gulls 

lift up from the corn fields;

fly across the sunset,

scarlet their silhouette.

The old owl, the moon,

drifts from its loose thatch of clouds,

throws an ivory glance

on an enameled sea.

Eyes of mice, the stars,

from the privacy of light

peep into the darkness

with the temerity of night.

B. Britten: Morning (from The way to the Tomb)

Morning is only

A heron rising

With great wings

Lifting day into the sky.


Morning is only

The white plumes of smoke

As the velvet snake

Night leaves the green valley.


Morning is only

A scarlet stallion

Jumping the ocean,

Its mane aflame on the sea.


Morning is only

Women bent at the well

Lifting their pails full

Of their hearts, too heavy.

B. Britten: Night (from The way to the Tomb)

Night is no more than a cat which creeps to the saucer of light

laps, then sleeps.

Night is no more than the place waves reach with their hands of surf

seeking the beach.

Night is no more than the hounds of fear with bloody jowl and bark

bullying the year.

Night is no more than my love who lies

She dreams of a dream lives, then dies.

B. Britten: The Nurse's Song (from A Charm of Lullabies)

Lullaby baby, Lullaby baby,

Thy nurse will tend thee as duly as may be.

Lullaby baby!


Be still, my sweet sweeting, no longer do cry;

Sing lullaby baby, lullaby baby.

Let dolours be fleeting, I fancy thee, I ...

To rock and to lull thee I will not delay me.


Lullaby baby, Lullabylabylaby baby,

Thy nurse will tend thee as duly as may be

Lullabylabylaby baby


The gods be thy shield and comfort in need!

The gods be thy shield and comfort in need!

Sing Lullaby baby, Lullabylaby baby

They give thee good fortune and well for to speed,

And this to desire ... I will not delay me.

This to desire ... I will not delay me.


Lullaby baby, Lullabylaby baby,

Thy nurse will tend thee as duly as may be.

Lullabylabylabylaby baby.

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