Marianne Faithfull and the Romantic Poets

Marianne Faithfull’s new cd (in collaboration with Warren Ellis), She Walks In Beauty  (her interpretation of much-loved Romantic poems – Marianne’s reading, Ellis’ soundscapes) gets its official release tomorrow (Friday). We’ve already featured the title track (Lord Byron‘s famous poem) – here it is again:

Marianne: “It’s very romantic, not like you imagine Byron to be..It’s so beautiful, and that’s why I like it. I love the other side of Byron, too, but this is really amazing, sublime. And I was very drawn to the ability to do really beautiful rhymes. I think that’s from being a songwriter. It’s incredibly nice. Not what I connect with Lord Byron at all.”

Byron’s “So We’ll Go No More A-Roving” is also included, as are three poems from Keats (“La Belle Dame sans Merci“, “Ode to a Nightingale“, and “To Autumn”), two from Shelley (‘Ozymandias” and “To The Moon“), two from Wordsworth (“Surprised By Joy“, and from “The Prelude” (“Book One – Introduction”), Thomas Hood‘s “The Bridge of Sighs” and Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shalott”)

Marianne on the genesis of the record:

“When I was 13 or 14, I bought myself a book, Palgrave’s Golden Treasury, and that really turned me on to poetry, lots of different poetry…And then there was my English teacher at the convent, Mrs. Simpson.  I was studying for my A-Levels in the year before I got discovered. Very happy. Then I was discovered and never finished them, but I learned a lot and it never left me, so I had this idea all my life, really, that I wanted to make the most beautiful poetry record with music.”

“I wasn’t in doubt“, she declares, “I’ve been thinking about it for so long, this album, it’s been in my head for so long, I think I really knew exactly what I wanted. I just picked the poems I really loved, and, I can’t help but say I think I was very lucky. We got it.”

“We” is, not only Ellis, but, as often in Marianne’s projects, a group of other talented musical collaborators – Nick Cave plays piano, Vincent Ségal  adds cello and Brian Eno creates sound textures for some of the album score.Ellis: “I didn’t think of them as songs…I wasn’t locked into melodies or chords. I could take incredible liberties. It wasn’t about creating something that had to follow the text or outline it – it was free in that respect. The important thing was that it didn’t get in the way.”

“My preferred way of making music is to leave a lot of it to chance, to let accidents happen,”  ..I’ve been moving away from structures in things. This music is me attempting to push forward. I think it’s as good as anything I’ve ever done,…in terms of the spirit of it and the process I went through to make it.”

Check out these recent interviews with Marianne about the record – here and here – and here

and recent articles about her Co-vid experience and more (we almost lost her!) – here, here and here 

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