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01684 773883

Peter Lawson
CARE-CHARMER SLEEP
for High Voice and Piano
Goodmusic GM265

Catalogue Number: GM265

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The song-cycle Care-Charmer Sleep was written, with funds from the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust, for Alison Mary Sutton, who was accompanied by Alan Hazeldine, in its first performance in the Purcell Room on May 18th, 1978. It was subsequently given a live broadcast on BBC Radio 3 by Jane Manning and John McCabe. Jane Manning wrote a chapter about the work in her book New Vocal Repertory (MacMillan, 1986 - see below).
It comprises fairly straight-forward tonal and atonal settings of four poems, loosely connected in their different references to sleep, as being, in the first poem, a pre-birth to love; the second, from which the cycle takes its title, a relief from strife; the third, a shadow over waking life... and in the fourth, romance is seen as a youthful drowsiness for which the poet has now no time.
The first song, The Good Morrow, is a love poem by John Donne (1572-1631), where the poet wonders "what thou and I/Did till we loved? - were we not weaned till then?... And now good morrow to our waking souls". The piano part weaves a texture around the vocal line, sometimes reminiscent of birdsong.
The second poem, a Sonnet by Samuel Daniel (1562-1619), expresses a wish to sleep through the "day's disdain". Here, the piano accompaniment is characterised by hypnotic repeated chords, which form a gigantic mirror canon. Rhythms and notes are reflected at the centre point, from which they are heard back in reverse order.
The third poem, The Morning Watch, by Henry Vaughan (1621-1695), expresses the joy of waking to the "Symphony of Nature" - sleep is a "curtained grave".
Finally comes Romance, by Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849), typically dark, written some two centuries later. Romance is seen "with drowsy head and folded wing ... Far down within some shadowy lake", from the distance of "eternal Condor years"; the poet now has "no time for idle cares/Through gazing on the unquiet sky". Peter Lawson

Range (A - A). Duration 15 minutes

from Jane Manning's New Vocal Repertory:
"substantial and strikingly original song cycle"..."this weighty and memorable song cycle would be an excellent choice for a standard mixed recital programme"..."audiences should be carried along by its dramatic sweep and intensity".

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