Five Shakespeare Songs

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1. Under the Greenwood Tree A setting of Amiens' song from As You Like It. Set in a lilting G modal/major tonality, the three verses are employed strophically. 2. O Mistress Mine A setting of the clown’s song from Twelfth Night. This song was part of the incidental music written for a production of Twelfth Night at Ward Freman School, Buntingford, in December 1980. Taken from Act 2, Scene 3, it is wistful and juxtaposes an E flat major/minor tonality. The piano accompaniment plays a dominant role in conveying the atmosphere, developing and imitating material from the vocal line. 3. Come away death A setting of Feste’s song from Twelfth Night, Act 2, Scene 4, part of the incidental music written for a production of Twelfth night at Ward Freman School, Buntingford, in December 1980. The two verses, in an appropriately wistful mood, are set strophically, rising a tone from D to E modal minor. The piano enhances the emotional atmosphere with melodic development and enhancement throughout.

The composer Elizabeth Poston, who lived locally, was President of ‘Music at Ward Freman’ and attended a performance on 11 December 1980:

“I meant to write and tell you but got submerged in Christmas, how very much impressed I was with your music in Twelfth Night. I so enjoyed it. It seemed to me you succeeded in hitting lots of nails on the head in all sorts of different ways. Above all, I liked the music itself, and there was one piece at least that could surely be usefully expanded into something more extended? Why not make a Suite out of it and include the songs?…” Extract from a letter to the composer from Elizabeth Poston dated 21 February 1981. 4. It was a lover and his lass

A setting for baritone and piano of the pages’ song from As You Like It. The four verses are set strophically in a modal D minor. The piano accompaniment varies two ideas: the first, using ostinati semiquavers, evokes a 16th-century secular style; the other, using syncopated quavers, returns to a more modern mood with hints of jazz rhythm and harmony. The final verse amalgamates the two styles of accompaniment. 5. Blow, blow thou winter wind

A setting of Amiens’ song from As You Like It. Set loosely in a modal D minor, this song has an underlying ironic mood that pervades the seemingly upbeat nature of the text. The second verse concludes ambiguously in G - neither major nor minor.

Score ID
Difficult (Grades 7+)
11 minutes
Voice + keyboard
Classical music
Instrumental parts

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