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Voice recording of Lincolnshire-born poet Tennyson to feature on new album

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: July 28, 2011

  • KEEPING MEMORY ALIVE: Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

  • KEEPING MEMORY ALIVE: Paul Armfield, who has recorded an album called Tennyson, which uses rare recordings of Tennyson speaking.

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THE only known voice recording of Lincolnshire's most famous poet will feature on a new album dedicated to his work.

Tennyson is the fourth album from musician Paul Armfield and is based on the works of the former Poet Laureate Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who was born in Somersby, near Spilsby, in 1809.

On one of the album's tracks, The Charge Of The Light Brigade, Tennyson's voice can be heard reciting his poem of the same name.

It is taken from a wax cylinder that was found in the poet's former home.

The recording itself was made by American inventor Thomas Edison, but because it was stored behind a radiator, its quality has diminished over time.

Other tracks on the album include Crossing The Bar, Maud And The Sailor Boy – all using extracts of Tennyson's poetry.

Mr Armfield, who also runs a book shop on the Isle Of Wight, said the project started in 2004 when he launched his debut album.

He said: "Tennyson has always been a bit of a blank spot for me and I always felt guilty for not enjoying his poems.

"When I released my first album in 2004, we did a launch party in Tennyson's house and I started to become more interested.

"But I still didn't understand Tennyson properly and wanted to make amends for this.

"I tried to put a couple of his songs to music and was quite pleased with it. The next thing I know, I've got a gig and had to have an evening's worth of Tennyson material.

"On The Charge Of The Light Brigade, it's fascinating to hear Tennyson's voice. The recording is very old and unless you know the poem, it's quite unintelligible. In my song, I've tried to make Tennyson echo my voice.

"A couple of years later, I recorded the songs and came up with the album Tennyson. The album will be released in music shops and through iTunes on Saturday, September 10."

Kathleen Jefferson, honorary secretary of The Tennyson Society, based in Lincoln, welcomed the album from Mr Armfield.

She said: "It certainly makes Tennyson's poetry accessible to a new audience and it's always interesting when someone sets his words to music.

"As far as I know, no one has put The Charge Of The Light Brigade to music before and it will be interesting to hear."

The album is available to pre-order from today. Visit www.paul armfield.com for more information.

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