I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Was I cruel? You be the judge

Another bit of recycling. I posted this sonnet in August 2009. It emerged out of a comment made by Mrs LdP (another Janet Baker fan) who said “Just imagine, singing like that while looking like the Queen.” I suppose it’s a bit cruel but I was struck by the cruelty of the UK honours system, as explained.

The LdPs have most of the stuff Janet recorded. Her voice was unique in its richness and her musical integrity was immense. She slipped out of public life when she retired but she did give one recent interview in which she expresses a characteristic opinion.

She had, she said, done just a bit of teaching and had even held one or two masterclasses. (Both Mrs LdP and I regard TV masterclasses as the best way of learning about music.) But, said Dame Janet, she couldn’t see any benefit from doing them in public (ie, before the cameras). Meaning she couldn’t sympathise with publicising the student’s embarrassment.

Janet Baker
Born August 21 1933

Stark contrast with the manly role of knight
The faintly pantomimic joke of dame
Arrived, the way things do, as a polite
If regal tick against the box of fame.
Singer and monarch shared the irony
Of heavy faces and of reticence
And thus the honour’s ambiguity
Tended towards the side of temperance.
A world away from deep-set souvenirs
Of Dido, Dorabella, Orfeo
The Mahler songs and Handel’s baroque airs:
Intemperate outcome of a voice aglow.
The titled name a grace note lacking grace,
The music permanent in time and space.

I included Dido's Lament some days ago. Here's another masterpiece:


  1. Listening to her sing is a good way to start the day. Thank you.

  2. Beautiful.

    I've never registered hearing it before. So, I had to go and look on Google and now I know a lot more than I did 10mns ago.

    I pity Euridice lying there with his head pressed against her chest - must be quite a powerful volume.