IRENE NOEL-BAKER   Poet
Translator of Greek literary works
Psychologist
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Songs: Changing the Story

Changing the Story

music by Anthony Powers
words by Irene Noel-Baker

sung by Michael Chance
guitar: James Boyd

After giving many performances of my earlier song cycle High Windows, Michael Chance was keen to have a new piece, this time not for voice and piano, but for a combination which, like the lute-song, seems above all to require, and consist of, intimacy. I wrote these songs for Michael in 2000. They are settings on specially written texts, by Michael's wife Irene Noel-Baker, which take and transform elements of Greek myths, notably the stories of Apollo and Daphne, and Orpheus and Eurydice. The result is a piece which shifts from the mythological past to the present, just as the medium of voice and guitar suggests both Elizabethan music (with lute) and the folk or pop of today. Without writing music of either kind, I have certainly alluded to each, and have also tried in a way to reinvent those lute-songs whose marvellous words I know were in Irene's thoughts as she wrote these texts for music.

Anthony Powers

  1. Apollo and Daphne
  2. Orpheus' Song
  3. The Glance
  4. The Beginning of the Game of Love
  5. Four Sapphic Fragments on Intimacy
  6. The Race of the Moon and the Clouds

Apollo and Daphne

Apollo stands
His strong hand on the shining flank
His adamantine eyes at rest
On the beautiful animal.

Daphne waits
Transformed into a laurel
Her broad leaves
Waiting for rain.

Irene Noel-Baker (2009-12)