Jonathan Mack performs “The Brisk Young Widow”

There is still music from recent Spacious Vision performances to share! Over on our SoundCloud audio archive, we have a live performance by Jonathan Mack of a relatively unknown Britten folk song setting. It’s the comedic “The Brisk Young Widow,” from 1954. (The song uses a tune from Somerset, collected by Cecil Sharp in 1905). The recording is from our Nov. 2013 “Britten in Song” concert.

Click here for Jonathan’s performance. Kristof van Grysperre is at the piano. The song has several verses, and you can seem them here, or all on the SoundCloud page.

In Chester town there liv’d
A brisk young widow.
For beauty and fine clothes
None could excel her.
She was proper stout and tall,
Her fingers long and small,
She’s a comely dame withall,
She’s a brisk young widow.

A lover soon there came,
A brisk young farmer,
With his hat turn’d up all round,
Seeking to gain her.
“My dear, for love of you
This wide world I’d go through
If you will but prove true
You shall wed a farmer.”

Says she: “I’m not for you
Nor no such fellow.
I’m for a lively lad
With lands and riches,
‘Tis not your hogs and yowes
Can maintain furbelows,
My silk and satin clothes
Are all my glory”.

“O madam, don’t be coy
For all your glory,
For fear of another day
And another story.
If the world on you should frown
Your top-knot must come down
To a Lindsey-woolsey gown.
Where is then your glory?”

At last there came that way
A sooty collier,
With his hat bent down all round,
And soon he did gain her:
Whereat the farmer swore,
“The widow’s mazed, I’m sure.
I’ll never court no more
A brisk young widow!”