Divine Images—Album of Blake songs from Songs of Innocence and Experience
Published by Classical Vocal Reprints.
English visionary poet William Blake (1757-1827) was also a powerfully gifted painter-printer. It’s useful to think of him as a Beethoven contemporary, for his work has the same iconoclastic quality and creative energy. The poems—multi-media art, really—were published in “illuminated” books: many of the texts are accompanied by images, and they are elaborated with fascinating detail. And Blake, like Ginger Rogers, had to do everything other poets and painters did, but backwards (though not in high heels), because the copper plates had to be etched in reverse!
Divine Images is a Blake album rather than a cycle, and the order of songs is my own. There is much of Blake’s Innocence here, only a touch of Experience. With the exception of “The Little Boy Lost” and “The Little Boy Found,” which mirror each other, singers may feel free to excerpt and combine songs in any order they wish. When performed in order, the piper’s invocation leads us first to songs celebrating the imagination of the child. Intimations of mortality are felt in “The Fly” and the “Little Boy” poems, but the final songs sound notes of laughter and compassion. “The Divine Image” could be a humanist anthem.
Piping down the valleys wild (2004) 3′
Infant Joy (1989) 2′
Cradle Song (1994) 4′
The Lamb (2001) 3′
The Little Boy Lost (2004)–The Little Boy Found (2008) 3′
The Fly (2004) 3′
Laughing Song (2008) 3′
On Another’s Sorrow (2004) 4′
The Divine Image (2002) 3′