Tennyson album finished

Posted by Paul Category: Category 1, Tennyson, Uncategorized Tag:


I’ve just sent the recordings off to my label along with the freshly printed album cover (left). Oh happy relief! It’s been nearly two years since Dr Brian Hinton cornered me into putting Tennyson’s poems to music for the bicentenary of his birth (Alfred’s not Brian’s). I’d originally planned to record them immediately using the Four Good Reasons and an assortment of Island voices, but life intervened. Eventually I got around to recording them alone at home, doing (almost) all the playing and singing myself, the exceptions being Mari Persen’s beautiful voice on Sweet and Low, Donal O’Riain’s mimicing of birds on the fiddle on the opening track and Doug Lang providing a suitably militaristic bit of bodhran playing on Charge of the Light Brigade. It’s been a fairly lonely process with little of the joy of collaboration and none of the reassurance that a second opinion provides. It also leaves me without the perspective that distance gives, I’ve no idea how it sounds on first listen, I only hear the rattle of nuts and bolts that hold it together. I think it will challenge the listener, whereas I would never consider including seven minutes of just vocal and bass on a ‘regular’ collection of songs, here it seemed appropriate to capture the loneliness of the obsessive  stalker who narrates ‘Maud’. How it’s received I think will depend on how the listener comes to it: compared to a spoken word collection of poetry it’s a roller-coaster, whereas compared to the usual collection of three and a half minute songs it might appear a little sedate. My hope is that it breathes life into Tennyson’s words and that the listener will be surprised at how contemporary his voice sounds and how relevant he is, all of life is here: birth, death, love, hate, beauty, madness and lots of sea.

The album is due to be released in late summer and the provisional track-listing is as follows:

1/ Little Birdie (from ‘Sea Dreams’)

2/ On A Spiteful Letter

3/ The Splendour Falls (from ‘The Princess’)

4/ The Poet’s Song

5/ Maud (an extract)

6/ The Charge of the Light Brigade

7/ Sweet and Low (from ‘The Princess’)

8/ The Sailor Boy

9/ The Voyage

10/ Crossing the Bar




3 thoughts on “Tennyson album finished

    1. Peter! I’ve only just realised you posted this. Hope all’s well with you. Where are you now?

  1. Bodhrans to the lef of them, bodhrans to the right of them……. I’ve been in sessions like that.

    Pass my regards on to Doug. Been wondering where he’d got to.


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