Thursday, September 20, 2012

Who was Donald Ford?

I'm due to play for a young singer tomorrow at the Dunedin Singing Competitions.  We've got half a dozen songs up our sleeves, so it's going to be a reasonably busy day.

One of the songs is a lovely piece called To Daffodils.  The words are by Robert Herrick and the music is by Donald Ford.  Herrick, of course, is a reasonably well-known poet from the 17th century, a vicar by calling and the writer of some 2,500 poems.   His career as a clergyman was interrupted for fourteen years during the English Civil War, and used the interim to write and publish some of his poetry.  His clergy status was restored in 1662, but it seems that much of the focus of his life resided in his poetic work, even though in his time he was not widely acknowledged.  He died an old man of 83.

There's a good deal known about Herrick.  Donald Ford, however, is a mystery.  A friend had thought that he'd written another song,  A Soft Day, which has a similar warmth and feeling, but it turns out this is by Charles Stanford.   Ford is credited with writing He is Tender with the Beasts, Nod, and Romance, to words by Wilfred Gibson, Walter de la Mare and Robert Stevenson respectively.   There's also a list of ten pieces that appear to be for children on this site which may or may not be by him, though it's probable it's the same composer.

Other than that he seems invisible.  I'd be really interested to find out more about him, but even Google seems flummoxed by this request.
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