A Prayer, a Charm and a Riddle

Programme Note

A Prayer, a Charm and a Riddle is a cycle of three short settings of Old English texts. The prayer, ‘Cædmon’s Hymn’, is the oldest surviving Old English poem. According to Bede, Cædmon was an illiterate cow-herder who received divine inspiration allowing him to compose this Christian hymn. ‘For a Swarm of Bees’ is one of 12 surviving Old English metrical charms, which are in a sense Anglo-Saxon magic. This one, as the title suggests, was designed to ward off swarms of bees. The so-called Exeter Book, a 10th-century manuscript housed in Exeter Cathedral, contains almost 100 riddles. The solutions to many of these riddles are a subject of debate, but we do know the solution to the present riddle: a one-eyed garlic seller.

Year: 2022
Duration: 5′
Instrumentation: Soprano

I – Cædmon’s Hymn
II – For a Swarm of Bees
III – One-eyed Garlic Seller

Media

A recording of ‘Cædmon’s Hymn’ by Stephanie Lamprea can be found here.

Performances

12th April 2020
Stephanie Lamprea (Soprano)
Online release of recording of ‘Cædmon’s Hymn’