Tyger and Other Tales

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The Lady of Shalott

June 3rd, 2007 by David Kronemyer · 2 Comments

Lady of Shalott painting

DAVID KRONEMYER: “The Lady of Shalott” is a Victorian poem by the English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892). It recasts Arthurian subject matter, loosely based on medieval sources, and takes up themes that would become more fully realized in “Idylls of the King” (Wikipedia).

I was mesmerized by this poem back in high school (circa 1968-1970), and set it to music. Originally I arranged it for 12-string guitar and wind quintet, comprising oboe; clarinet; French horn; English horn; and bassoon. I resurrected and revised the arrangement in 1996 for the album Tyger and Other Tales.

In the meanwhile, of course, Loreena McKennitt came out with her lovely version, on The Visit (1991). There was some discussion if recording this arrangement somehow might be seen as derogating from the beauty of hers. They’re so different, eventually we decided not to worry about it.

Krysia’s beautiful singing – controlled, yet emotive and powerful – has the power to make me weep. Listen and judge for yourself:

The painting, of course, is John William Waterhouse’s eloquent, ethereal, evocative, imaginative, fantastical vision. It dates from 1888, so it’s contemporary with Tennyson’s poem.  It actually was the cover for Tyger and Other Tales, used under license from the Tate Gallery, London, England, where I have spent many happy hours viewing it.