Contemplating Eurovision: Part 2
Different species of spectral composition

One from the Archive: my setting of Houseman poem "With Rue My Heart is Laden"


(Other songs I wrote with text by A.E. Houseman)

In an earlier post about George Butterworth and Morris Dancing, I mentioned a song cycle I had written with text by A.E. Houseman.  Butterworth wrote many songs from the same volume of poetry, A Shropshire Lad.  There were 5 songs in the set I wrote:

1.  Bring in this timeless grave
2.  With Rue my heart is laden
3.  If it chance
4.  Into my heart
5.  The true lover 

I'm in the process of uploading these from cassette.  This one, 'WIth Rue my heart is Laden" was always one of my favorites.


The performance was part of a composition seminar at the University of Pittsburgh, perhaps in 1997 but possibly in 1994.  Prism Ensemble came in for readings of student work.  The singer was Mary Nessinger, but I'm afraid I don't have a note of the pianist.  I thought this would be the song that got me the Rolling Stone cover.  Here's text of the poem:

WIth rue my heart is laden
For golden friends I had
For many a rose-lipt maiden
And many a lightfoot lad.

By brooks too broad for leaping
The lightfoot boys are laid;
The rose-lipt girls are sleeping
In fields where roses fade 

We use "Rue" as a verb, as in to bitterly regret something.  Rue is also an herb, with an astringent quality.  I grow rue by the side of our house, mostly to remind myself of this song.