Pre-Raphaelite Songs and Pictures

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David Owen Norris has a varied collection of songs with pictorial connexions. The flyer above is for a remarkable concert at the Guildhall Art Gallery where, with the soprano Amanda Pitt & the reciter Candida Gubbins, he gave world-premiere performances of Bax’s settings of Rossetti and William Morris, well over a hundred years after they were composed. The picture shows Byam Shaw’s vision of The Blessed Damozel (in white on the right, with her lover, newly arrived in Heaven), and it was a wonderful experience to hear Bax’s setting under the Damozel’s very eyes.

Perhaps even more remarkably, the concert also included public premieres of unknown songs by Alice Millais, daughter of the painter, and indispensable ‘Windflower’ Muse to Sir Edward Elgar. The performances took place under the eye of Alice’s sister Effie, painted by their father.

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‘My First Sermon’

Or, perhaps not quite under the eye ….

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‘My Second Sermon’

And as a final surprise, the concert included two excellent songs by Alice’s husband, Charles Stuart Wortley, Member of Parliament for Sheffield.

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