Poetry & Music: Songs and Proverbs of William Blake

Tuesday 18 Jun 2019 3pm

Part of Aldeburgh Festival

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Roderick Williams baritone
Andrew West piano
Patience Agbabi poet
Introduced by Kate Kennedy

Britten Songs and Proverbs of William Blake 25’

Britten’s Blake settings, composed in 1965 for the great German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, are perhaps his most tightly-knit cycle, interleaving texts from the poet’s Songs of Experience (‘The Tyger’ among them) with prose epigrams from the Proverbs of Hell such as ’To see eternity in a grain of sand’.

Dark and intense, Britten’s music slips constantly between chromaticism and more straightforward harmonies to evoke the tension between innocence and experiences implicit in Blake’s words.


Photo by Sam Murray-Sutton