The Herd-Boy

March 16 2014

Benjamin Britten, fourth of six Songs from the Chinese for voice and guitar, opus 58, 1957; texts from Arthur Waley, translator, Chinese Poems, 1946; Lu You, twelfth-century Southern Song; Peter Pears, Julian Bream, 1963:

“In the southern village the boy who minds the ox
With his naked feet stands on the ox’s back.
Through the hole in his coat the river wind blows;
Through his broken hat the mountain rain pours.
On the long dyke he seemed to be far away;
In the narrow lane suddenly we were face to face.
The boy is home and the ox is back in its stall;
And a dark smoke oozes through the thatched roof.”

Playlist for the cycle, same performers:

The Big Chariot, from The Book of Songs, eleventh to seventh centuries BC

The Old LutePo Chü-i, Tang

The Autumn WindWu-ti, Han

The Herd-Boy

DepressionPo Chü-i

Dance Song, from The Book of Songs.

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