The Silver Swan

Album: The Consort Of Musicke (1612)
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • Orlando Gibbons (1583 –1625) was one of the most versatile English composers in the early 17th century. Among his works were a number of madrigals, the best-known being "The Silver Swan."
  • "The Silver Swan" is scored for five voices and was first published in Gibbons' First Set of Madrigals and Motets of 5 parts (1612). It presents the old belief that swans only sing once in their lives, and that song is sung at the moment they die. It's that legend which lies behind the term "swan song."
  • The swan song legend has inspired many other musical works and poems. They include Alfred Tennyson's poem and Camille Saint-Saëns ballet both titled "The Dying Swan," a 2015 track by Lana Del Rey and the Led Zeppelin's Swan Song record label.
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