Sunday, March 7, 2010


"...and the love that passes understanding has come to me." Vere, Billy Budd

Philip Langridge CBE has died. It was terribly sudden and shocking, and leaves those fortunate enough to have been touched by his mastery better people in a better world. Australian audiences will remember him as the superlative Britten translator who gave us an unsurpassed Aschenbach and Captain Vere, as recently as 2008 here in Sydney, where after his final epilogue he faltered into the blackness of the wings to a stunned silent house wiping its eyes.

The Guardian obituary is here and that from the UK Telegraph here.

Britten, Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, op 31

O soft embalmer of the still midnight,
Shutting, with careful fingers and benign,
Our gloom‑pleas’d eyes, embower’d from the light,
Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close,
In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes.
Or wait the “Amen” ere thy poppy throws
Around my bed its lulling charities.
Then save me, or the passèd day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes,
Save me from curious conscience, that still lords
Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
Turn the key deftly in the oilèd wards,
And seal the hushèd casket of my Soul.

John Keats (1795-1821)

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