The Cloths of Heaven is a song composed by Ivor Gurney, (1890-1937) set to a poem (Aedh wishes for the Cloths of Heaven) by Irish poet W B Yeats ( 1865-1939). In the video above Anthony Hopkins reads the poem.
Below is the song interpreted by Ian Bostridge.
Gurney led a tragic life. He passed his final 15 years in mental institutions, dying at 47 of Tuberculosis, in an asylum in Dartford, having been moved there after an escape attempt, far from his native and beloved Gloucestershire. His decline seems to have been triggered by his experiences during World War I. Nevertheless, his output as both poet and composer was prolific. He wrote some 200 songs and 300 poems. I was interested to note that he spent some time as a soldier on a signalling course, in Seaton Delaval in Northumberland, my own childhood home.
English tenor Ian Bostridge, (1964-) was an Oxbridge scholar before embarking on a singing career, receiving a D.Phil from Oxford in 1990. His book Witchcraft and Its Transformations was published as an Oxford Historical Monograph in 1997. You can find out what Ian’s up to singing-wise on his Facebook page.