Wagtail & Baby (solo / unison + piano)

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page one of Wagtail & Baby (solo / unison + piano)

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Full details

This is a setting of one of Thomas Hardy’s later poems, about a baby watching a bird at a river crossing. The wagtail remains there happily while various animals cross, but flies off in terror as soon as a ’gentleman’ approaches. Hardy’s poem is an early alarm that all may not be well with the human place in the wider eco-system.

These days society is more ’green’ and eco-aware. It’s now more about solutions than symptoms. What should we be doing to promote wildlife, conservation and sustainability?

Musically, the piano accompaniment paints the context quite literally and needs a fairly competent pianist. The harmonic language strays into (and out of) bitonality but you always sense the home key. The time signature changes quite freely, but without disrupting the natural flow. There are wide contrasts and bold lingering pauses.

This setting could be performed by a soloist or by a unison choir.

Score ID
Year of composition
Thomas Hardy
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
3 minutes
Voice + keyboard
Modern classical music

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