Monday, December 23, 2013

Music Monday ~ Winter's Tales

Sidling past the dozens of choices of Christmas music available at YouTube, but wishing to stay "in season", how about A Winter's Tale sung by David Essex? The song was written by Mike Batt and Tim Rice in 1982 in response to a request from David Essex. I don't know how well the song was known in the USA, my husband had never heard it before - that's not necessarily a useful yardstick, he being a jazz enthusiast (but an avid Beatles fan too).

The song's title has to bring to mind Shakespeare's play, The Winter's Tale, about a jealous king who suspects his pregnant wife of unfaithfulness, imprisons her, banishes the baby girl to whom she gives birth, causes her to be taken to some far shore by his friend. His friend is then killed by a bear. The play contains Shakespeare's most famous, and decidedly quirky, stage direction at this point: "Exit, pursued by a Beare". There's a happy ending though. In the second half of the play, 16 years later, the girl, now a young woman falls in love....and somehow everything comes right in the end. David Essex's song doesn't have a happy ending, though he does seem resigned to his lonely fate.

In Winter's Tale , song or play, the season itself isn't the lead player. Stories known as winter's tales were stories told by firelight during the long dark nights of a medieval winter. In dramatist George Peele's play of 1595, The Old Wives' Tale a woman is asked to "tell a merry winter's tale" to pass the time "trimly". These winter's tales were, it seems, something akin to fairy tales, peopled by kings, queens, princes, princesses, courtiers, peasants, lost children, jealousy, love, death...all that good stuff, but always with a happy ending.

I took the long-winded but scenic route to arrive at this Winter's Tale: the video!

David Essex is still around in the UK, acting, touring, recording. See Wikipedia here. "Essex spent six years as an ambassador for Voluntary Service Overseas, which earned him an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in 1999. On that he said: "That was a big day. I took my two eldest kids, and me mum even went out and bought a hat"


mike said...

That was quite nice, Twilight! I hadn't heard "A Winter's Tale" and David Essex' voice is nice, too. I'd lost track of Essex...he was very popular here a number of decades back, in the 1970s.

I noticed your sidebar's Philip Pullman quotation. He has a book coming out's been delayed numerous times, but forecast for 2014. It's both a prequel and sequel to "His Dark Materials" trilogy. Titled, "The Book of Dust". I'll need to read it upon publication, as I enjoyed the trilogy.

Twilight said...

mike ~ I like the song - which is fortunate because I've had it stuck in my head ever since I prepared the post. :-)

Yes we've mentioned Pullman's "The Golden Compass" movie before. I saw the film but haven't read anything by Pullman. "The Book of Dust" sounds a bit ominous! ;-)

I'm currently slowly making my way through "Good Omens" by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.
It's a fun read.