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Sunday Concerts: Dante Quartet & Brian Thorsett
+ Pre-Concert Talk with Robert Hugill  

Sunday 3rd March 2024

Performed by: Brian Thorsett, Zoë Beyers, Ian Watson, Carol Ella & Richard Jenkinson

Four Songs by Ivor Gurney (arranged for voice and string quartet by Ian Venables)

By a Bierside, composed 1916.
Text by John Masefield

This is a sacred city, built of marvellous earth.
Life was lived nobly there to give such Beauty birth.
Beauty was in this brain and in this eager hand.
Death is so blind and dumb, death does not understand.

Death drifts the brain with dust and soils the young limbs’ glory.
Death makes justice a dream and stength a traveller’s story.
Death drives the lovely soul to wander under the sky.
Death opens unknown doors. It is most grand to die.

In Flanders, composed January 1917.
Text by Will Harvey

I’m homesick for my hills again –
To see above the Severn plain
Unscabbarded against the sky
The blue high blade of Cotswold lie;
The giant clouds go royally
By jagged Malvern with a train
Of shadows.

Where the land is low
Like a huge imprisoning O
I hear a heart that’s sound and high,
I hear the heart within me cry:
“I’m homesick for my hills again –
Cotswold or Malvern, sun or rain!
My hills again!”

Severn Meadowscomposed March 1917. 
Text by Ivor Gurney

Only the wanderer
Knows England’s graces,
Or can anew see clear
Familiar faces.

And who loves joy as he
That dwells in shadows?
Do not forget me quite,
O Severn meadows.

Lights Outcomposed Christmas, 1917.
Text by Edward Thomas

I have come to the borders of sleep,
The unfathomable deep
Forest where all must lose
Their way, however straight
Or winding, soon or late;
They cannot choose.

Here love ends –
Despair, ambition ends;
All pleasure and all trouble,
Although most sweet or bitter,
Here ends, in sleep that is sweeter
Than tasks most noble.

There is not any book
Or face of dearest look
That I would not turn from now
To go into the unknown
I must enter, and leave, alone,
I know not how.

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