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Poems set to music

Dave the Gnome 12 Jan 10 - 04:21 AM
Sailor Ron 12 Jan 10 - 05:57 AM
theleveller 12 Jan 10 - 06:00 AM
GUEST,EKanne 12 Jan 10 - 06:04 AM
Sandra in Sydney 12 Jan 10 - 06:48 AM
MGM·Lion 12 Jan 10 - 08:45 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 10 - 08:56 AM
theleveller 12 Jan 10 - 09:22 AM
Willa 12 Jan 10 - 09:40 AM
MMario 12 Jan 10 - 09:42 AM
MGM·Lion 12 Jan 10 - 09:47 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 12 Jan 10 - 09:49 AM
DonMeixner 12 Jan 10 - 10:01 AM
Charley Noble 12 Jan 10 - 10:05 AM
Backwoodsman 12 Jan 10 - 10:12 AM
Leadfingers 12 Jan 10 - 10:16 AM
Mark Ross 12 Jan 10 - 10:25 AM
Bluegrassman 12 Jan 10 - 10:39 AM
Bryn Pugh 12 Jan 10 - 10:52 AM
Dave the Gnome 12 Jan 10 - 11:16 AM
Dave MacKenzie 12 Jan 10 - 11:35 AM
MGM·Lion 12 Jan 10 - 11:51 AM
Bettynh 12 Jan 10 - 11:56 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 10 - 12:00 PM
The Sandman 12 Jan 10 - 12:51 PM
Dave Roberts 12 Jan 10 - 01:21 PM
Edthefolkie 12 Jan 10 - 02:13 PM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 12 Jan 10 - 02:31 PM
cptsnapper 12 Jan 10 - 02:54 PM
cptsnapper 12 Jan 10 - 02:57 PM
GUEST,suegorgeous in Hanover 12 Jan 10 - 03:17 PM
Cuilionn 12 Jan 10 - 04:41 PM
The Sandman 12 Jan 10 - 04:45 PM
Rumncoke 12 Jan 10 - 05:22 PM
Artful Codger 12 Jan 10 - 07:30 PM
GUEST,Gerry 12 Jan 10 - 07:34 PM
Leadfingers 12 Jan 10 - 07:36 PM
Artful Codger 12 Jan 10 - 08:58 PM
MGM·Lion 12 Jan 10 - 10:48 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 13 Jan 10 - 01:22 AM
Artful Codger 13 Jan 10 - 03:04 AM
sciencegeek 25 Jan 16 - 12:09 PM
Jack Campin 25 Jan 16 - 12:19 PM
GUEST,Lester 25 Jan 16 - 12:32 PM
Joe_F 25 Jan 16 - 03:59 PM
MGM·Lion 25 Jan 16 - 04:13 PM
cnd 25 Jan 16 - 04:37 PM
akenaton 25 Jan 16 - 04:38 PM
Tattie Bogle 25 Jan 16 - 05:39 PM
eftifino 25 Jan 16 - 10:45 PM
Hagman 26 Jan 16 - 02:08 AM
GUEST,LynnH 26 Jan 16 - 03:24 AM
GUEST,silver 26 Jan 16 - 06:05 AM
GUEST,John from "Elsie`s Band" 26 Jan 16 - 06:54 AM
GUEST 26 Jan 16 - 07:03 AM
MGM·Lion 26 Jan 16 - 07:12 AM
MGM·Lion 26 Jan 16 - 07:18 AM
MGM·Lion 26 Jan 16 - 07:32 AM
Marcy 26 Jan 16 - 08:17 AM
GUEST,Mark Bluemel 26 Jan 16 - 11:44 AM
keberoxu 26 Jan 16 - 01:16 PM
MGM·Lion 26 Jan 16 - 01:25 PM
keberoxu 26 Jan 16 - 01:57 PM
MGM·Lion 26 Jan 16 - 02:17 PM
MGM·Lion 26 Jan 16 - 02:20 PM
GUEST,Ottery 26 Jan 16 - 03:44 PM
Amergin 26 Jan 16 - 04:58 PM
GUEST,DrWord 26 Jan 16 - 05:01 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 26 Jan 16 - 07:23 PM
Hagman 26 Jan 16 - 08:14 PM
GUEST,mg 27 Jan 16 - 03:23 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 27 Jan 16 - 03:37 AM
Will Fly 27 Jan 16 - 04:33 AM
Jack Campin 27 Jan 16 - 11:21 AM
Genie 27 Jan 16 - 06:06 PM
Tattie Bogle 27 Jan 16 - 07:27 PM
Hagman 28 Jan 16 - 07:14 PM
Airymouse 29 Jan 16 - 01:03 PM
JHW 29 Jan 16 - 05:04 PM
Jack Campin 29 Jan 16 - 06:52 PM
keberoxu 02 Feb 16 - 03:00 PM
Alan Day 02 Feb 16 - 06:25 PM
Gutcher 02 Feb 16 - 06:28 PM
FreddyHeadey 03 Feb 16 - 06:24 AM
GUEST,Desi C 03 Feb 16 - 07:05 AM
Tattie Bogle 04 Feb 16 - 06:08 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 04 Feb 16 - 07:17 AM
Tattie Bogle 05 Feb 16 - 04:50 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 05 Feb 16 - 05:02 AM
keberoxu 05 Feb 16 - 02:13 PM
GUEST,Zeph 06 Feb 16 - 11:35 AM
GUEST 06 Feb 16 - 04:54 PM
Tattie Bogle 06 Feb 16 - 06:09 PM
GUEST,folkedup 22 Feb 16 - 03:07 AM
GUEST,Musket 22 Feb 16 - 03:30 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Feb 16 - 04:40 AM
Jack Campin 22 Feb 16 - 07:57 AM
GUEST,henryp 23 Feb 16 - 06:45 AM
GUEST,M 24 Feb 16 - 03:55 AM
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Subject: Poems set to music
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 04:21 AM

We all know of the stalwart work done by Peter Bellamy in setting Rudyard Kipling's works to music but are there any others? My mate and Swinton Club resident, Ged, has set a fair old few of Sir Arthur Conan-Doyles works to music and a very good job he has done too. Anyone have any other examples, famous or otherwise?

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Sailor Ron
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 05:57 AM

C.Fox Smith, set to music by various people. John Masfield, Robert Louis Stevenson have also been 'done'. All these are frequently sung at Shanty/Maritime festivals, though not perhaps at mainstream festivals/folk clubs.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: theleveller
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 06:00 AM

Gordon Tyrell set some of John Clare's poems to music on his excellent CD 'A Distance From the Town'.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,EKanne
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 06:04 AM

In Scotland several people have set poems by Violet Jacob, notably Jim Reid and John Eaglesham, as these read off the page like lyrics anyway eg. "Norlan Winds", and "The Last o' the Tinkler".
And John has also set some Joe Corrie poems - "Guttin' Herrin'" and "Anither'.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 06:48 AM

Many of Henry Lawson's poems have been set to music - The Songs of Henry Lawson Songbook by Chris Kempster

sandra


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 08:45 AM

I have some recollection of George Deacon & Marion Ross also setting some of John Clare's work years ago. Just looked on my vinyl shelves, but couldn't find the album I was seeking — if I come across it, will come back: or does anyone else remember it?


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 08:56 AM

Byron's Dark Loch Na Gar is fairly commonly found in Ireland; piper Willie Clancy played a slow air by that name which is now usually associated with the song.
Irish Traveller 'Pop's' Johnny Connors, a member of the piping Doran family, got hold of a book of R L Stevenson's poems while a 'guest of her majesty' in Winson Green Prison and put a magnificent tune to 'Heather Ale'.
Two local poems now solidly lodged in the tradition are 'Miltown Malbay Fair' aka 'Nora Daly', and 'Farewell To Miltown Malbay', both by local poet Thomas Hayes.   
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: theleveller
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 09:22 AM

Dave Swarbrick wrote a lovely tune for Lovlelace's To Althea From Prison which appears on Fairport Nine.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Willa
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 09:40 AM

I love W B Yeats' 'Lake Isle of Innisfree' and fully agree with the comments below,from a review of 'Threads of Time'


'Cherish the Ladies, Threads of Time
Joanie Madden, Mary Coogan, Mary Rafferty, Donna Long, Siobhan Egan, Aoife Clancy
This album is a classic, a must-have. Aoife's silken voice makes each song an intimate experience. Each tune, ballad or jig, is strong. Best, however, is Yeats poem, "The Lake Isle of Innisfree", to which Aoife's music is hauntingly beautiful. Aoife is related to the Clancy Brothers.'


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: MMario
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 09:42 AM

Sung, they are lyrics, spoken , they are poems.

Lots of poems set to music.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 09:47 AM

The Mellstock Quire's record on Forest Tracks label FT3016 has an attractive setting of Thomas Hardy's 'The Ruined Maid', sung by Caroline Jackson-Houlston (also author of a good book on the ballads, "Ballads, Songs and Snatches"), to the Dorset tune collected by Hammond of 'The Bold Grenadier'.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 09:49 AM

Some of my Chants from Walkabouts were written as poems, before finding a way to sing/chant them, then working/writing out the tunes by mimicking my voice with recorder and keyboards - here, e.g.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: DonMeixner
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 10:01 AM

Phil Ochs set The Men Behind The Guns to music along with The Highwayman. Both exceptionally fine meoldies.

Don


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Charley Noble
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 10:05 AM

As Sailor Ron mnetioned above, a number of us have been setting the poems of Cicely Fox Smith to tune, some 70 of her poems to date. In addition to myself there are Alan Fitzsimmons, Bob Zentz, Peter Massy & Gordon Morris, William Pint, Michael Kennedy, and others.

I have also been adapting for swinging the nautical poems of Burt Franklin Jenness, William McFee, Harry Kemp, Bill Adams, Edwin C. Brady, Robert Louis Stevenson, and John Masefield.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 10:12 AM

And of course Garnet Rogers set Charles Kingsley's 'The Three Fishers' to music. Great version by his nephew Nathan on the CD 'True Stories'.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 10:16 AM

Its the easy way out if you cant fake words , but CAN fake a tune - I have dabbled at several poems from 'Comic and Curous Verse'


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Mark Ross
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 10:25 AM

Phil Ochs' setting of Poe's THE BELLS is wonderful. Charles Badger Clark, "The Poet Lariat", many of his poems have been set to tunes;SPANISH IS A LOVING TONGUE, HIGH CHIN BOB, and I set his poem SONG OF THE LEATHERS to music. Some poets writing just call for them to be sung.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Bluegrassman
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 10:39 AM

There is always the poem that has been discussed and dissected more than any other by mudcatters and others, RAGLAN ROAD to THE DAWNING OF THE DAY.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 10:52 AM

I have posted previously that John Renbourn set John Donne's

"Song : Goe, and catch a Falling Star" ; and IMO a bloody good job he made of it.

An old mate from the Manchester scene, Pete Astles, made a setting of another of Donne's songs "Swetest love, I doo not goe . . . ".

I once set Burn's poem "Bonnie Lesley". Least said, soonest mended.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 11:16 AM

Thanks for all the input - I am particularly interested in collections - Such as the Bellemy one. Cicely Fox-Smith would be interesting as she is not only local to me but a very colourful character! Gary and Vera do 'From the North' - anyone do any more?

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 11:35 AM

I've been singing MacDiarmid's "O Wha's the Bride" for over 40 years.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 11:51 AM

Leadfingers - interested you set poems from Comic & Curious Verse (I take it you mean the Penguin collections?). I am no composer - the only successful tune I think I have ever made up for myself is for 'Unhappy Bella' in the first book - have you done a setting for that one? The Cohens [editors] are, I think, remiss in not giving its source — Orwell quotes it in Down & Out In Paris & London, claiming to have heard it heartbrekingly harmonised by a couple of old boys in a doss-house; but he doesn't give a tune!


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Bettynh
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 11:56 AM

At Girl Scout camp in the 1960's we sang a beautiful version of Kipling's "Seal's Lullaby."

Did Peter Bellamy write it, perhaps? His music is very hard to find.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 12:00 PM

Walter Pardon was a Hardy nut and he made a tune for 'The Trampwoman's Tragedy
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 12:51 PM

Sailortown, Poem by Fox Smith, music by Dick Miles.
in fact since the music was written in 1987.,I reckon I played a major part in drawing the folk revivals attention to her poetry.http://www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 01:21 PM

Then there are the superb Sir John Betjeman/Jim Parker collections, such as 'Late Flowering Love' and 'Varsity Rag'.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 02:13 PM

Steve Ashley also wrote a tune to Donne's "Goe and catch a Falling Starre", and a lovely tune it is. It appears on "Stroll On" as "John Donne Song".

Actually the more recent version of the record called "Stroll On Revisited" is an extremely good buy. It contains all the superlative songs from the original record plus some extra tracks, including the fantastic "Old Rock'n'Roll". And arrangements by the late Robert Kirby.

No I'm not related and I'm not his manager....


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 02:31 PM

Re Hugh MacDiarmid, his "Ae gowden lyric..." has been set to a very demanding, soaring melody, either by Ronald Stevenson or Francis George Scott (I think the former): it's in John Purser's "Scotland's Music", published about 1990.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: cptsnapper
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 02:54 PM

Linden Lea, music by Vaughn Williams


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: cptsnapper
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 02:57 PM

Sorry, Linden Lea written by William Barnes.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,suegorgeous in Hanover
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 03:17 PM

Wasn't there a recent thread on this very same topic?

Anyway, Bristol duo The Wraiths - http://www.myspace.com/thewraithsbristoluk - set Emily Dickenson's poetry to music very beautifully.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Cuilionn
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 04:41 PM

Aye, Emily Dickenson's fun to sing. One theory I've heard is that her poems fell naturally into the "Common Metre" (meter?)of then-popular hymn tunes. This means you can fit them to a host of tunes, rather like the lyrics to "Amazing Grace" or the theme from "Gilligan's Island."

My favourite: take her maudlin little poem that goes "because I could not stop for death, he kindly stopped for me..."

Now sing it to the tune of "Yellow Rose of Texas." Puts a whole new feeling to it!


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 04:45 PM

oh the yellow rose of texas and the man from laramie, went down to davy crocketts to have a cup of tea, the tea was so delicious they had another cup , poor old davy crockett had to do the washing up.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Rumncoke
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 05:22 PM

I suspect that it was a common pass-time in many households before the radio was commonplace.

In my mother's mothers house they had dozens of books of poetry - all were burnt when she moved into a flat along with the huge old furniture - and when my uncles and aunts were young they would spend afternoons at the piano with hymn books for the tunes, finding ways to put them together.

Anne Croucher


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Artful Codger
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 07:30 PM

Bellamy's music is not at all hard to find; just check Camsco or Amazon. Many of his Kipling settings are available on the CD double reissues "Fair Annie" (paired with "Peter Bellamy") and "Mr Bellamy, Mr Kipling & the Tradition" ("Keep on Kipling" and "Songs an' Rummy Conjurin' Tricks"); also on the excellent 3-CD compilation "Wake the Vaulted Echoes".

In addition to Badger Clark, other cowboy poets whose poems have been set to music include N. Howard "Jack" Thorp, Curley Fletcher, Gail Gardner, Omar Barker, Bruce Kiskaddon, Herbert Henry Knibbs, Arthur Chapman, Frank Maynard, Larry Chittenden, E.A. Brininstool, D.J. O'Malley, Captain Jack Crawford and Rhoda Sivell (I guess she'd be a cowgirl poet)--you can find many threads dealing with these poem adaptations here; also check CowboyPoetry.com. Someone recently recorded an entire album of Sivell adaptations she'd worked up. One-off cowboy poems that have been set include Brewster Higley's "The Western Home" ("Home on the Range"), Alan McCandless's "The Cowboy's Soliloquy", Frank Desprez's "Lasca" and Harold Hersey's "The Lavender Cowboy". "O Bury Me Not" came from the poem "The Ocean Burial", by Edwin H. Chapin. Don Edwards has set numerous cowboy poems, by these authors and others. Lots of cowboy songs originally came from poems which were published in regional papers or in popular national papers like "Youth's Companion".

Robert Service is another poet favored by songifiers.

I'd hazard a guess that a large number of broadside "songs" were actually just poems without any specific tune held in mind by the author. Settings of broadside poems by revivalist performers are legion.

Shameless plug: I've put tunes to quite a few poems, including Bret Harte's "Coyote" (with coyodel) and Badger Clark "Batchin'", "The Old Cow Man" and "Ridin'". I also did my own setting of "Unhappy Bella", which someone mentioned above.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 07:34 PM

I'm sure we've had a thread on this - finding it is another question....

I've heard several musical settings of The Highwayman. The one by Phil Ochs has been mentioned in this thread, and another very good one is by Loreena McKennitt, also recorded by Andy Irvine.

Sandra linked to Chris Kempster's collection of musical settings of Henry Lawson poems. There was a tribute album to Chris Kempster a few years back which has recordings of several of these songs. Also Priscilla Herdman's album, Water Lily, has several settings of Lawson poems.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 07:36 PM

Artful - I had a go at Bret Harte's 'Heathen Chinee' but never did much with it as my musical partner at the time had brothers who were married to delightful chinese ladies !


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Artful Codger
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 08:58 PM

Gerry: The topic does sound familiar and recent (or at least recurrent). But I think el Gnomo was here specifically trying to elicit sets of poems by the same author that had been put to music, not so much individual poems. We've been widening the focus a bit.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 10:48 PM

Researching broadsides to set to new tunes used to be the speciality of The Halliard [Nick {as he spelled it those early days} Jones & Dave Moran were the composers mainly, + Nigel Patterson the third instrumentalist] — see thread on 'The Workhouse Boy', &c. I remember I particularly loved Nic's tune for 'Going for a soldier, Jenny', & Dave's 'Calico Printer's Clerk'.

Codger, it was me who has done setting of 'Unhappy Bella'. Wonder how they compare.

Michael


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 01:22 AM

MtheGM
Nigel Patterson drops in here from time to time, and I agree Nic used to excel at adding tunes to Broadsides. Billy, don't you weep for me, probably being one of his best known. Knowing Nics sense of humour, I'm sure it was the story that inspired him. If you read the lyrics, it's not easy to see how you could possibly hang a tune on it!
Oh, and if you didn't already know, the Halliard briefly reformed a couple of years ago, and recorded more songs, and c/w their first(?) album it is now available via Mollie Music, along with a great book.
Worth it just to hear Nic singing again after all these years. Plug over!


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Artful Codger
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 03:04 AM

To Michael: I'm sure my "Unhappy Bella" is quite different from yours: mine is kind of "music hall meets Darius Milhaud". Oscar Brand did a setting, too, and ruggers sing it to some general-purpose tune, from what I've heard.

To Ralphie: The Halliard reformed? Had they been keying cars and giving dweebs swirlies? ;-}


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: sciencegeek
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 12:09 PM

Dave Parry did a number of Robert Service poems to music... quite a shock when he passed after the Mystic Sea Music Festival.... anyone know how to obtain his old cassette? or CD if available... google has not been my friend lately... thanks to lousy broadband in rural USA


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 12:19 PM

Gordon Tyrell set some of John Clare's poems to music

I have some recollection of George Deacon & Marion Ross also setting some of John Clare's work years ago.

The difference being that Deacon knew the tunes Clare himself intended and Tyrrell didn't. The difference shows.

The setting of e.e. cummings's "all in green went my love riding" by Peter Schickele, sung by Joan Baez on her "Baptism" LP, is spectacularly original, albeit rather untraditional sounding.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,Lester
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 12:32 PM

A Shropshire Lad
Words Sir John Betjeman, music Jim Parker

John Kirkpatrick


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Joe_F
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 03:59 PM

Very many of Kipling's songs were set to music -- quite a few made it into the music halls during his lifetime. That was no doubt his intent, in view of the number of his titles containing the words "song", "ballad", "hymn", etc. Among more recent carriers on of the tradition, in addition to Bellamy, one might mention Leslie Fish and some other filkers.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 04:13 PM

I don't recall anyone above [apologies if I missed it] mentioning Stanford's stirring setting of Newbolt's rousing "Drake's Drum". That sort of patriotic triumphalism is, one realises, not·quite·the·thing with the present generation; but sung regularly over the airwaves by bass-baritones of the Peter Dawson type, it was, whatever may be thought from a post-60s perspective, the sort of thing which kept up our national morale in the dark days of early WW2.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: cnd
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 04:37 PM

Wouldn't all songs technically be poems set to music unless they're instrumental songs or improvs?


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: akenaton
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 04:38 PM

Someone above mentioned Garnet Rogers, he also set Henry Lawson's "After all" to music, it's one of my all time favourites, uplifting and inspirational
After All


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 05:39 PM

Well as it's Burns' Night, can I just mention that Robert Burns is not known to have written many tunes, but he had an ear for good ones to snaffle up to set his poems to, or some were set to music later by others: some of those we sing now, of course, and NOT to the earlier tunes he used. He did play the fiddle which is why some of them have that challenging octave-and-a-half range!


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: eftifino
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 10:45 PM

More recently, the late Jim Croce recorded 'Gunga Din"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34Vxqydpmus

Banjo Patterson's "Clancy of the Overflow": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZB6K85PuQ_M


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Hagman
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 02:08 AM

Artful Dodger mentioned Robert W. Service on this list years ago - Country Joe McDonald's album "War War War" is all RWS poetry, and is sensational.

For you Poms, you can't go past your Eddie Elgar's "Sea Pictures" (The Janet Baker version, of course) and you will note that one of the texts is by an Aussie - Adam Lindsay Gordon.... Happy Australia Day, all!


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,LynnH
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 03:24 AM

Henry Lawson's "Past carin'" was set to music by Steve Ashley and recorded by Mara!


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,silver
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 06:05 AM

"The Fiddler of Dooney" was set to music by Jo-Ellen Bosson. On a visit to Ireland, I mentioned this to an Irishman, and he seemed shocked at the thought of anyone tampering with Yeats's poems. Never had the opportunity to play the song to him. It's on "Return to the Land" by Gordon Bok, 1990.

Bok himself has set many poems to music, for example:
"The Sea Wife" and "Harp Song of the Dane Women" by R Kipling
"The Death Ship" by B Traven
"Sailor's Carol" by C Causley
"The Liza Jane" by J B Connolly (uncertain, he says he had found it in a book by said author)
"Sally" by J Goodenough
"Little River" by R Moore
"Peace on Earth" by W C Williams

From my own country, the poems of G Fröding, E A Karlfeldt, and Dan Andersson have been set to music by many different composers.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,John from "Elsie`s Band"
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 06:54 AM

"Depot Races" by W.Miller, published in "The Barry Humphries Book of Innocent Austral Verse"


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 07:03 AM

A Shropshire Lad was A E Housman, not Betjamin. George Butterworth's setting is sublime.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 07:12 AM

Housman's A Shropshire Lad was an 1896 collection of charming, if often rather pessimistic, bucolic verses by a Cambridge don who had probably never even visited Shropshire.

Betjeman also wrote an individual poem called A Shropshire Lad, in retrospective honour of Captain Webb, the first Channel swimmer of early C20, obviously intending the title to have referential classic resonances back to the Housman book; the gallant Captain being, obviously, a native of Shropshire.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 07:18 AM

"John Betjeman's poem "A Shropshire Lad" (1940) commemorates the death of Captain Webb, portraying his ghost swimming back along the canal to Dawley [his Shropshire birthplace - M]. It was set to music by Jim Parker and has been the most requested song on the repertoire of John Kirkpatrick during his entire career."
Wikipedia entry on Captain Webb


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 07:32 AM

A bit of a mystery is why the online youtube recording of Betjeman reading the poem has him do it in what sounds more like a sort of cod "North Coon-tree", than either anything like Shropshire or like his native London sort of old-fashioned RP in which he recites, eg, his autobiographical Summoned By Bells.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Marcy
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 08:17 AM

Music behind spoken poetry can be really effective. I was in a play called Twisted Roots about a year ago where poetry by Peggy Douglas was spoken while a small string band played. It was really amazing to hear how the music brought the words to life.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,Mark Bluemel
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 11:44 AM

Roger Wilson used Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" as part of his song "Indian Tea".

Martin Carthy has also had a go at e.e. cummings' "all in green", adapting the minuet from Mozart's "Hunt Quartet".

C.F. Smith has already been mentioned, but I'll mention her again just to remember the late Sarah Morgan and her stunning setting "Home Lads Home".


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: keberoxu
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 01:16 PM

William Blake?   Walt Whitman?


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 01:25 PM

Dave the Gnome -- Going right back 6 years or so to your OP: what works of Conan Doyle did your friend Ged find suitable for musical setting? I can't offhand think of any of his œuvre which would lend itself.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: keberoxu
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 01:57 PM

MGM, I went to www.lieder.net, which posts song lyrics in all languages, to see if there was a single lyric there by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, with a musical setting.

There is: one. The composer is Gary Bachlund of whom I am ignorant. And here is the poem.

A PARABLE from Songs of Action)

The cheese-mites asked how the cheese got there,
And warmly debated the matter;
The Orthodox said that it came from the air,
And the heretics said from the platter;
They argued it long and they argued it strong,
And I hear they are arguing now;
But of all the choice spirits who lived in the cheese,
Not one of them thought of a cow.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 02:17 PM

Thank you. Read all of Holmes + the historical novels at 8 or 9, when one should; but must admit had never thought of him as a poet. Will google to see what othe3r bardic effusions of his I can find.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 02:20 PM

Well, well; 3 collections. Why, one learns something new every day, even at my age [84 this year]!


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,Ottery
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 03:44 PM

Maddy Prior sang a version of "The Rolling English Road" (Chesterton) that I love very much.

I think Jim Causley has sung settings of the poems of his relative Charles Causley. Haven't heard them yet, but keep meaning to check them out. I loved some of CC's stuff when I was a child.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Amergin
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 04:58 PM

Phil Ochs also covered Edgar Allan Poe's The Bells.

Sarah Jarosz did Annabelle Lee.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,DrWord
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 05:01 PM

Blake? Absolutely! Alas, my ongoing struggle to do musical and lyrical justice to 'The tyger' will not likely be performed, let alone recorded. I do keep trying, though. A million years ago I made a melody for Scott's 'Proud Maisie' which I still like. Thanks for the thread, mudfolk, and

keep on pickin'
dennis


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 07:23 PM

Francis Scott Key's "Defence of Fort McHenry" set to "The Anacreontic Song" is the "Star Spangled Banner."

Haitian poet Oswald Durand's "Choucoune" was set to a mash-up of carnival music by American ex-pat Mauleart Monton.

Marcy: "Music behind spoken poetry can be really effective….amazing to hear how the music brought the words to life."

BUCKSHOT LEFONQUE I Know Why The Caged bird Sings (volume warning)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Vnt7TBovKs


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Hagman
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 08:14 PM

Richard Buckner's "The Hill" CD is an adaptation of Edgar Lee Master's "Spoon River Anthology"


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 27 Jan 16 - 03:23 AM

i just put cassandra..should be provided, her daughter..southwick by jjohn greenleaf whittier to the tune of lowlands of holland, after just using the last verses.

also wrote a tune to helen all alone by kipling. put gift of the sea, cut down, to mary of the wild moor. gethsemane to auld lang syne..obviously we'll duck and we'll dive likelittle tin turtles goes to we'll rant and we'll roar..in lowestoft a boat was laid..i'll go no more a roving.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 27 Jan 16 - 03:37 AM

A large part of Seán Tyrrell's output consists of poems set to music, including Paul Durcan's 'Making love outside Áras an Uachtaráin'.


When I was a boy, myself and my girl
Used bicycle up to the Phoenix Park;
Outside the gates we used lie in the grass
Making love outside Áras an Uachtaráin.

Often I wondered what de Valera would have thought
Inside in his ivory tower
If he knew that we were in his green, green grass
Making love outside Áras an Uachtaráin.

Because the odd thing was – oh how odd it was –
We both revered Irish patriots
And we dreamed our dreams of a green, green flag
Making love outside Áras an Uachtaráin.

But even had our names been Diarmaid and Gráinne
We doubted de Valera's approval
For a poet's son and a judge's daughter
Making love outside Áras an Uachtaráin.

I see him now in the heat-haze of the day
Blindly stalking us down;
And, levelling an ancient rifle, he says, "Stop
Making love outside Áras an Uachtaráin"


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 Jan 16 - 04:33 AM

There's a Scottish composer and performance artist, who's lived in Brighton for many years, called Billy Cowie, and a major part of his work has been composing music for poets' work from many countries. I first heard of him when we were both on the staff of the University of Brighton (I believe he still is) and bought one of his records called "La Chanson Bien Douce", which consists of several poems of Verlaine set to music. The music is set for 2 sopranos, piano, violin and cello and I think it's very beautiful.

If you go to http://www.billycowie.com/, you can read all about him. Click on the "CDs" link in the menu bar and scroll down to CD DIVAS 5 for info. There's a video there illustrating one of the poems - "La Chanson Bien Douce".

Worth a listen.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Jan 16 - 11:21 AM

How about Jacques Prevert?

https://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2008/03/17/french-poet-jacques-prevert-translated-into-english/

Brecht, Lorca, Hikmet... there are quite a few poets in languages beyond English who have been set to music in many cultures besides their own.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Genie
Date: 27 Jan 16 - 06:06 PM

Rani Arbo set Tennyson's poem Crossing The Bar to a lovely melody, rearranging the order of the verses (1, 3, 2, 4) and adding a refrain for each verse by repeating phrases from that verse.

Rose & Colin duet Crossing The Bar Getaway 2010

Ensemble at Getaway sings Crossing The Bar for Rose


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 27 Jan 16 - 07:27 PM

A CD came out in 2009 featuring poems of Robert Louis Stevenson, set to music by various Scottish songwriters: it is entitled "From a Garden of Songs". Very nice album.

Picking up on a post higher up in the thread about Lochnagar, mentioning Irish connections: Lochnagar is one of the biggest mountains in the Grampians (Scotland) and Byron did spend some time in Scotland, and, I believe, have some Scots in his family. Dark Lochnagar is a challenging song to sing because of its big range.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Hagman
Date: 28 Jan 16 - 07:14 PM

Joan Baez's "Baptism" album (1968) has JB singing/reciting the following:

    "Old Welsh Song" (Henry Treece)
    "I Saw the Vision of Armies" (Walt Whitman)
    "Minister of War" (Arthur Waley)
    "Song In the Blood" (Lawrence Ferlinghetti/Jacques Prévert)
    "Casida of the Lament" (J.L. Gili/Federico García Lorca)
    "Of the Dark Past" (James Joyce)
    "London" (William Blake)
    "In Guernica" (Norman Rosten)
    "Who Murdered the Minutes" (Henry Treece)
    "Oh, Little Child" (Henry Treece)
    "No Man Is an Island" (John Donne)
    "Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man" (James Joyce)
    "All the Pretty Little Horses" (traditional)
    "Childhood III" (Arthur Rimbaud/Louis Varese)
    "The Magic Wood" (Henry Treece)
    "Poems from the Japanese" (Kenneth Rexroth)
    "Colours" (P. Levi, R. Milner-Gulland, Yevgeny Yevtushenko)
    "All in green went my love riding" (E. E. Cummings)
    "Gacela of the Dark Death" (Federico García Lorca/Stephen Spender)
    "The Parable of the Old Man and the Young" (Wilfred Owen)
    "Evil" (N. Cameron/Arthur Rimbaud)
    "Epitaph for a Poet" (Countee Cullen)
    "Mystic Numbers- 36"
    "When The Shy Star Goes Forth In Heaven" (James Joyce)
    "The Angel" (William Blake)
    "Old Welsh Song" (Henry Treece)

Orchestrations were by Peter Schickele (a.k.a. P.D.Q. Bach...)


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Airymouse
Date: 29 Jan 16 - 01:03 PM

I like John Shaw's setting to "To Althea from Prison." It's on his "Regional Curiosity" CD. (The regional curiosity is the dulcimer.)


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: JHW
Date: 29 Jan 16 - 05:04 PM

First Sight - Philip Larkin
Ghosts - Robert W. Service
Lord Ullin's Daughter - Thomas Campbell
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening - Robert Frost
I am the Great Sun - Charles Causley

All these I plead guilty to. Roger McGought asked after set poems a year maybe ago. I sent a couple in but heard no more than the acknowledgement. some recorded


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Jan 16 - 06:52 PM

Using texts from literary sources is much commoner in Turkish folk scene than it is in the British one. Here's one much-set poet:

Sabahattin Ali

(The prison in Sinop where he wrote some of his best known poems is now a museum; I don't know of another prison museum in Turkey and its existence is obviously only just tolerated).

A compilation of settings of his poems as performed by people right across the Turkish music scene:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgcvPzrg0I8

Some of those, like Livaneli's "Leylim Ley", have become downright anthemic.

There are similar collections on the web of settings of other 20th century Turkish poets, like Orhan Veli and Nazim Hikmet. And there are far more settings of the 17th-century rebel mystic poet Pir Sultan Abdal, probably too many to collect.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: keberoxu
Date: 02 Feb 16 - 03:00 PM

Charles Wood was a composer who trained under Stanford, who has been mentioned above. Wood's output is not prolific but he achieved some distinction in different genres, like sacred vocal music.

The peerless Lieder accompanist Gerald Moore, in one of his several books, singled out a Charles Wood setting of Ethiopia Saluting the Colors, by Walt Whitman. The poem is highly dramatic, with Sherman's March underway by the Union forces. The incident described is where there were slaves; and "Ethiopia" is represented by a woman wearing a turban of red, yellow, and green, who makes a point of coming outdoors, even though she is ancient and frail, to see the liberating forces march by: she describes how she was abducted from Africa by slavers as a small child.

I don't know if the composer Wood set any other Whitman poems.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Alan Day
Date: 02 Feb 16 - 06:25 PM

There has been no mention on this thread about the Musical Monologues written approximately 1900.During a Morris tour I was handed a large number of these by someone in the audience.Jim Farr (Jim the Poet) and I performed a number of this collection which included "Waifs Paradise" originally written to raise money to send children from the major cities out to the countryside.Many of the Monologues are too morbid to be of interest being late Victorian.Some however are quite amusing "The Old Castle being extremely clever.
Al


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Gutcher
Date: 02 Feb 16 - 06:28 PM

T.B.
The last Gordon of Gight, Aberdeenshire, was the mother of Byron. If I am not mistaken he was born there, he certainly attended the school in Aberdeen,
Thomas The Rymer made a prophecy about the 11th.C.? bridge over the river Don:----"Brig O Balgownie, black be yer faa, a weedows yae son on a horses yae foal."   Young Byron at the age of 12, being his mothers only child aquired a horse and rode over the brig----it still stands!.   [he blamed the horse]
He also composed a version of the well known song "We'll gang nae mair a roving" as a poem.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 03 Feb 16 - 06:24 AM

If anyone was looking for more poems to put a tune to this might be a list to peruse.
Songs Of Darkness
It says "Most of these are poems, and most have a theme of darkness; those that are not I just happen to like...."


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 03 Feb 16 - 07:05 AM

I think at least equal to that is the Late Luke Kelly's achievement in seetting Patrick Kavanagh's poem The Dawning Of The Day to music renaming it Raglan Road


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 04 Feb 16 - 06:08 AM

.luke Kelly didn't write the tune but used or adapted from an Irish traditional tune, known to be at least 100 years older, Fainne Geal an Lae. But he did a grand job of putting the two together.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 04 Feb 16 - 07:17 AM

But he did a grand job of putting the two together.

The point had probably been discussed and argued at length in the past but there IS a recording of Kavanagh singing the song to the tune of 'The Dawning of the day' from well before LK's time with the song.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 05 Feb 16 - 04:50 AM

Think I was aware of this, but there's also the story of Kavanagh saying to Kelly, "I'm giving this to you". As you say, some uncertainty over exactly what happened, but Kelly did a grand job of singing it.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 05 Feb 16 - 05:02 AM

There's no doubt about that.

The recording of Cavanagh singing the song was on an RTE documentary about him some years ago. I believe they made the point he already wrote the poem with the tune in mind before Luke Kelly entered into it. It doesn't matter really.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: keberoxu
Date: 05 Feb 16 - 02:13 PM

And with the previous post, this thread comes full circle. Did not Peter Bellamy approach Rudyard Kipling's ballads precisely because he made the connection between the poetry and several pre-existing tunes, and fit the two together? Didn't Bellamy say that only after matching poems to traditional melodies a few times, did he himself dare to take a Kipling lyric and compose an original setting?


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,Zeph
Date: 06 Feb 16 - 11:35 AM

Alfred Lord Tennyson's "Crossing the Bar" seems to be sung by lots of choirs these days, must suit choral and harmony singing, but there are also some solo versions notably Salamander Crossing, or individuals from that band, not sure of the name(s). Some might find it depressing, but it's about facing death, rather than death itself. So maybe not so depressing...


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Feb 16 - 04:54 PM

Johnny Coppin has set many poems to music.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 06 Feb 16 - 06:09 PM

Thanks Peter Laban.

Re Crossing the Bar, Zeph: I first heard the beautiful version by Craig, Morgan and Robson. It was played at my Dad's funeral in 2011: I loved the nautical imagery, which fitted with my Dad having been in the Royal Navy. Heard another trio of ladies singing it - all souped up with a funky beat: just wondered if they had any remote idea what it was about!? Nearly had to leave the room!


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,folkedup
Date: 22 Feb 16 - 03:07 AM

This is my thing, too.

My latest is a mash-up of Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Goodbye" (1846) with "The Wayfaring Stranger" (Roud 3339).

I rewrote two lines of the poem and borrowed two lines from the folk song lyric to use for a refrain.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 22 Feb 16 - 03:30 AM

I suppose I was rather suspect of poetry put to music for many years after my O Level Music study pieces included Malcolm Williamson's awful scoring of R L Stevenson's "From a Child's Garden."

Funnily enough, Bellamy's Kipling dragged me back to leaving my position that poetry is written to be read. Also, a good friend who started at our local folk club the same time as me when we were teenagers, the late Keith Emmerson, picked on a few poems from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. I still play his arrangement of The Song of the Ents to this day.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Feb 16 - 04:40 AM

The Scots drinking song 'A Wee Drappie O't' is, erroneously ascribed to Scots poet, Robert Tannahill.
I've recently had to annotate if for something I'm doing - here is what I've found out.
"There is no evidence that this was written by Tannahill, but in our copy of Robert Ford's 'Vagabond Songs and Ballads of Scotland' (vol. 1), (Alexander Gardner 1899), Ford's note to it reads:
......."Not less successful is the present contribution to the social programme, by an unknown hand, which happily is better described as a temperance than as a bacchanalian song. It is sung to the air of another good song, of the same class – 'Sae Will We Yet'."
A handwritten annotation beneath this note by the former owner of our set of Ford, William Walker, reads, "By the same author", thus attributing this song to Walter Watson (1780 – 1854).
William Walker was an authority on the Scots ballads, a correspondent with Francis James Child on the Peter Buchan controversy and almost certainly would have been familiar with the provenance of this song.
Ewan's error in attributing this song to Tannahill, probably picked up from his father, from whom he learned it,seems to have become accepted throughout the revival."
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Feb 16 - 07:57 AM

Isn't Anglo-American culture an anomaly in how detached poetic and musical creation are from each other?

Marcel Khalife sings Mahmoud Darwish's Ommi

In this respect Arabic culture is more "normal" in global terms than ours. You could find comparable settings of contemporary poets in French, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Italian, Urdu, Bengali... but if it happens in English it's something to be remarked on.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 23 Feb 16 - 06:45 AM

To mark the centenary of the publication of Housman's A Shropshire Lad, Polly Bolton, John Shepherd and Steve Dunachie released Loveliest of Trees, a collection of verses set to music with some verses read by Sir Nigel Hawthorne.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,M
Date: 24 Feb 16 - 03:55 AM

OOPS - finger trouble. Sorry about the blank post.

I love Phil Beer singing Johnny Coppin's setting of Frank Mansell's "The Holy Brook". (e.g. , the second part of the medley).


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