Song of the Day: July 28

(Curator: Phil Kline)

“To Gratiana Dancing and Singing” – William Denis Browne, sung by Ian Bostridge, with Julius Drake, piano.

This one always gets me. The poem is by Richard Lovelace and the song alludes to an anonymous allmayne in the Elizabeth Rogers Virginal Book. The composer, William Denis Browne (Denis Browne is his surname) attended Cambridge, impressed Ralph Vaughan Williams, and became close friends with the poet Rupert Brooke. They both shipped off to Gallipoli together in 1915 and never returned. The fact that the poem is an ecstatic snapshot of youth’s fleeting grace and that this meltingly lovely song is about all we have to listen to by young Denis Browne provides a haunting consonance.

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