WHAT is thought to be the only existing voice recording of Louth-educated poet Alfred Lord Tennyson will feature on a new album based entirely on his writing.
Isle of Wight musician Paul Armfield’s fourth album, entitled Tennyson, consists of the songwriter singing many of the poet’s verses alongside his own unique sound.
And track six ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ is introduced by Tennyson himself, whose voice was captured on a wax cylinder found in his home. The grainy sound of the poem being recited is incorporated seamlessly into the song, echoing Paul’s tones.
“Like many people I had always thought Tennyson as pompous, overly-dramatic and outdated, but on closer inspection found a very direct and relevant voice,” Paul explained.
“I hope that listeners will be surprised at how contemporary his poems sound in the settings I have given them.”
The opening track on the album, ‘Little Birdie’ is a purposeful attempt to throw off any presumptions, with a lively tune immediately grabbing the listener. ‘On a Spiteful Letter’, ‘The Splendour Falls’ and ‘Maud’ are much slower affairs, but ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ is the real headliner, a gripping sound that tells the story of some 600 English soldiers who, due to a breakdown in communications, were sent to their deaths in the Crimean War in 1854.
Tennyson was, of course, born in Somersby, 10 miles from Louth, and went on to be educated at Louth’s King Edward VI Grammar School between 1816 and 1820.
He went on to succeed William Wordsworth as Poet Laureate in 1850, holding the post for 42 years until his death in 1892. He is perhaps best known for his poem ‘Ulysses’, published in 1842, an extract of which will be the official slogan for next year’s London Olympics: ‘To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield’ has been carved onto the wall at the entrance of the athlete’s village.
He lived many of his final years on the Isle of Wight, where Paul owns a book store and does much of his song-writing.
‘Tennyson’ is released on September 10 through iTunes and music shops, and can be pre-ordered from www.paularmfield.com .