To The Borders of Sleep

Today Marcus and I gave our first performance, and only the second ever performance in the world, of Philip Grange's To The Borders of Sleep. These songs, written only last year, have been extremely challenging to prepare, but in performance were incredibly rewarding and well received. Philip has taken five poems by Edward Thomas on the themes of journeys and oblivion, and has set them fantastically. He writes, 'On one level the journey could be viewed as literal, while on another it could be seen as a metaphor for the poet's search for personal oblivion which he finds in the "unfathomable deep forest" of poem five.' Philip being on the professorial staff at Manchester University, and Marcus being a former student there, this recital was given in the music department's excellent Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall, as part of their regular Thursday lunchtime series, to a packed audience. This programme was something of a survey of English song of the twentieth century, beginning with some of Britten's arrangements of Purcell songs, followed by Phil's new cycle, Barber's James Joyce settings Op 10, and ending with more Britten, this time in some of his sublime and entertaining folksong settings.