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  • Writer's pictureSteve Crowther

David Power, Walter De la Mare and a Peacock Pie by Steve Crowther

Walter De la Mare (1873 - 1956)

De La Mare was an English poet, short story writer and novelist. He is probably best remembered for his works for children and for his poem The Listeners. He also wrote some subtle psychological horror stories, amongst them Seaton's Aunt and Out of the Deep. His 1921 novel Memoirs of a Midget won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction and his post-war Collected Stories for Children won the 1947 Carnegie Medal for British children's books.

Peacock Pie

‘These wonderful, whimsical poems from the incomparable Walter de la Mare describe the bliss of childhood, explore the marvel of a child's imagination and portray the intriguing landscapes of existences both lived and imagined by a young mind in a magical kingdom located somewhere between daydream and caprice.

In these poems we experience aspects of a reality unencumbered by concern, unhindered by anxiety, and share an imagination free to wander, ponder, contemplate, envision and express itself in a marvellous mosaic of impression, inspiration and introspection.

The wisdom and wonder of childhood is brought to life in these poems by an expert in the field of the fancy and fanciful. In the words of Walter de la Mare himself, these are poems that "echo the far-away calling of children, Magic hath stolen away.”’

(Bruce Kachuk)

'One poet I have set who has also been set by many others is Walter de la Mare. I have set four of his poems from his Peacock Pie book of poems for children, and many other composers including Britten, Gerard Finzi, Herbert Howells, Cecil Armstrong Gibbs and, more recently Phillip Cooke have also set his work. Howells and Armstrong Gibbs have based whole song cycles on Peacock Pie, so this seemed the place to start.

The programme takes the songs from Cecil Armstrong Gibbs’ Five Children’s Songs from Peacock Pie and Herbert Howells’ Six Songs from Peacock Pie Opus 33, and each song is paired with a contemporary setting of the same poem written specially for this concert.'

David Power

The settings of De La Mare 's iconic poems will be performed by Robert Rice (baritone) and William Vann (piano) on Saturday 3 February.

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