Ronald Corp

Conductor & Composer

The Music of Housman

Listen to excerpts:

1     Into my heart an air that kills
2     Oh, when I was in love with you
3     It nods and curtseys and recovers
4     You smile upon your friend to-day
5     Now hollow fires burn out to black
6     In the morning, in the morning
7     The sigh that heaves the grasses
8     When green buds hang in the elm like dust
9     I promise nothing: friends will part
10   Stone, steel, dominions pass
11   He, standing hushed, a pace or two apart
12   Into my heart an air that kills – reprise

Programme Notes

Just as I have been captivated by Whitman’s poetry, so the poetry of Housman inspired me to write a set, predictably called The Music of Housman; it was composed some time in the late 1970s.  There was no prospect of a performance at the time.  The final song is a modified reprise of the opening and provides a sense of unity to the cycle.  Other composers have set these texts, although I have chosen some verses that are less familiar.  I also wanted the music to be a little abrasive because I felt that some past settings of Housman had veered, to their detriment, towards the genteel.

Ronald Corp