Tuesday, 1 December 2020

'When You Speak'

 I had a fragment of a tune

Floating in my mind,

A mere three notes, 

Not Claire de Lune,

Or something of that kind,

Whose opening trinity gives away

The whole thing in an instant,

But three notes from some central part,

Which still excited, set my heart

To race,

In competition with my head

Which searched a life time's hoard of scores,

As I lay anxious in my bed,

At breakneck speed to find the phrase,

At least some helpful little trace

Of some few words which might pertain

To this mere trey

Within my brain,

Which yet belonged, in some sad song,

This snippet, which had gone astray.

The three notes were from Kurt Weil's setting of Ogden Nash's poem, ' Speak Low', hence the title.


Once all I had to go on was a single long note, sung in a high treble voice. I was lying in the garden on a deckchair and this single note was like a beam from the sun, shining in to my head, beautiful but annoying since it took me ages to place it. It turned out to be the first sung note of Britten's setting of the Corpus Christi Carol



No comments:

Post a Comment