Orpheus With His Lute: William Shakespeare



Orpheus with his lute made trees,
And the mountain tops that freeze,
Bow themselves, when he did sing:
To his music plants and flowers
Ever sprung; as sun and showers
There had made a lasting spring.

Everything that heard him play,
Even the billows of the sea,
Hung their heads, and then lay by.
In sweet music is such art,
Killing care and grief of heart
Fall asleep, or hearing, die.

William Shakespeare

Henry VIII III.i.3

Paul Phoenix, formerly a chorister in the Choir of St Paul’s Cathedral, performs Arthur Sullivan‘s ‘Orpheus With His Lute’, one of five ‘Shakespeare Songs’ plucked from the text of ‘Henry VIII’. Paul is accompanied on piano here by Sir Barry Rose, then the choirmaster at St Paul’s. Paul’s treble voice became widely recognisable through the BBC’s 1979 adaptation of John le Carré’s novel ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’, for which he performed an opening theme (‘Nunc Dimittis’) composed by Geoffrey Burgon. Mr Phoenix is now a tenor with the King’s Singers.

About layanglicana

Author of books on Calcutta, Delhi and Dar es Salaam, I am now blogging as a lay person about the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. I am also blogging about the effects of World War One on the village of St Mary Bourne, Hampshire.
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