Updated July 25

I received my CD from Amazon UK and I can report that it is absolutely delicious. The music is intriguing and evocative, the words of William Butler Yeats are illuminated in unexpected ways, and Gabriel Byrne’s three readings are indeed breath-taking. I recommend that you turn the volume up and put your headphones on. Stunning work!

Here is the review of her new CD from The Jazz Breakfast:

I’ve been looking forward to this album ever since I first heard that singer Christine Tobin was setting some W B Yeats poems to music. I’m not disappointed. It’s a rich and rewarding listen for all sorts of reasons, but mainly for the intelligence – both artistic and emotional – that Tobin has brought to the whole project.

Firstly, there is the way she has constructed the music. Of course, poetry has great rhythmic and rhyming material to work with, but, just as surely, poetry is not the same as a song lyric. And these Yeats poems are not exactly moon-in-june stuff. So the way that Christine has composed melodies that both reflect her own distinctive compositional style and are perfectly attuned to the words is remarkable…

I realise I haven’t detailed all its joys – we’d be here all day and into next week. Just buy it and live with it and I’m sure you’ll find it a true companion for years to come. I know I will.

Updated July 3

The AmazonUK DOWNLOAD link below limits the purchase so that US residents are not eligible to buy the MP3 version:

“We’re sorry. We could not process your order because of geographical restrictions on the product which you were attempting to purchase. Please refer to the terms of use for this product to determine the geographical restrictions. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

HOWEVER, the individual songs are available at iTunes! So, click that link, download the app, and head on over the iTunes Store if you are in the United States. Search “Christine Tobin” or “Sailing To Byzantium.” All of the individual songs from Sailing To Byzantium are listed.

Everyone can, I think, purchase the CD version from AmazonUK as usual.

Be prepared for amazing sound quality, great music, and above all, the heart-stopping voice of Gabriel Byrne on his three contributions: “The White Birds,” “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” and “The Pity of Love.” We suggest that you remain seated for these. And do remember to fasten your seat belt…

Many thanks to Scarlett for discovering the iTunes solution for us!

“The spellbinding tones of actor Gabriel Byrne…” are on their way, courtesy of the latest CD by jazz singer/songwriter Christine Tobin.

From the review in All About Jazz by Bruce Lindsay:

Gabriel Byrne, now better known as the star of Hollywood movies such as The Usual Suspects (1995), was Tobin’s teacher at school in Dublin. Byrne accepted Tobin’s invitation to read three poems and brings his own gravitas to the proceedings. Tobin gives him space, keeping instrumentation to a minimum. Byrne reads the moving “The Pity Of Love” unaccompanied; on “The Lake Isle Of Innisfree,” a poem that longs for the peace of a “bee-loud glade,” he’s joined by Tobin’s lyrical but sparse piano; for “The White Birds” Gareth Lockrane joins him in a flute and voice duet.

From Christine Tobin’s official website [this website is no longer available on the Internet]:


CD release date 2nd July

NEW CD – SAILING TO BYZANTIUM – will be released on July 2nd 2012 on Trail Belle Records. The CD is a collection of 12 poems by W. B. Yeats, arranged and set to music by Christine. The line-up includes the spellbinding tones of actor Gabriel Byrne, who recites three poems on the recording and musicians; Gareth Lockrane flutes, Kate Shortt cello, Phil Robson guitars, Liam Noble piano and Dave Whitford double bass. The CD was recorded at the wonderful CS Studios, Ardingly by engineer Curtis Schwartz. This is the same studios where Christine recorded her much revered Tapestry Unravelled album with Liam Noble. Also continuing the link with the Tapestry Unravelled CD, artist and founder of Blackbird, Maxine Sutton is providing some of her gorgeous textile artwork for the cover and the overall design will be compiled by the talented team at Designmap. Christine will be touring the band during the Summer & Autumn at festivals and venues throughout the UK. Keep an eye on Live Dates on this site for all shows.

To buy Christine’s CDs go to Amazon (CD) and Amazon (Download). Please note: these are all UK-based shopping venues. You can preview the songs at the Amazon Download site on July 1.

And here are more examples of the textile artwork of Maxine Sutton, creator of the amazing CD artwork. Her online shop offers lots of interesting crafts and products.

Christine Tobin: Sailing to Byzantium
artwork by Maxine Sutton

This is probably the official CD cover


  1. Check out the samples, they are great!

  2. Gabriel’s readings of these are just lovely! The man has a voice like warm caramel…. mmmmmm….. what a treat!

  3. Thanks for the information. I just bought the CD from
    Amazon UK. So now I have to wait for the Postman Pat …

  4. What a gem! At school we never learned any foreign poetry and I’m glad to have been introduced to Yeats in such a wonderful manner. Thanks for the tip.

  5. Received my CD yesterday.

    It is brilliant!

    Lovely music and Gabriel’s performances are truly breath-taking. I will be listening to this CD–the entire thing!–for a long time…

  6. And I received my CD yesterday too.
    I like it very much.
    The music is very elegant and full of emotions.
    Gabriel reads with a voice that makes my heart and thoughts stop a moment, so I just enjoy the voice, the music and the words.

  7. Listening to Helen Mayhew one chilled and sunny Sunday afternoon I heard Christine Tobin sing Wild Swans which just blew me away. I loved the concept and interpretation of setting music to Yeats’ poetry. Very interesting interview and very beautiful.

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