If I ever had to choose one singer above everybody else I would not hesitate to pick Kathleen Ferrier. Ever since I have heard her first over 30 years ago I have been captivated by her mesmerising artistry. There is an intensity and honesty in her singing that is unparalleled. She particularly excels in English repertoire, which is very dear to me. Here is one of Vaughan Williams most beautiful songs: “Silent Noon”.
The words, by Dante Gabriel Rosetti, read as such:
Your hands lie open in the long fresh grass,—
The finger-points look through like rosy blooms:
Your eyes smile peace. The pasture gleams and glooms
‘Neath billowing skies that scatter and amass. All round our nest, far as the eye can pass,
Are golden kingcup fields with silver edge
Where the cow-parsley skirts the hawthorn-hedge.
‘Tis visible silence, still as the hour-glass.
Deep in the sun-searched growths the dragon-fly
Hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky:—
So this wing’d hour is dropt to us from above.
h! clasp we to our hearts, for deathless dower,
This close-companioned inarticulate hour
When twofold silence was the song of love.