The Darkling Thrush

For: Voice + keyboard
page one of The Darkling Thrush

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The Darkling Thrush


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Year of composition
Thomas Hardy
Difficult (Grades 7+)
4 minutes
Modern classical music
License details
For anything not permitted by the above licence then you should contact the publisher first to obtain permission.

Thomas Hardy’s poem is set for baritone and piano. The piano part is not a traditional accompaniment but rather a representation by repeated chords and note patterns of the unvarying, frozen landscape and shivering limbs of the poet. In the first pair of verses this is static and downbeat. In the second two verses the same patterns are flipped over and heightened and become increasingly the thrush’s song. Similarly, the cheerless, mostly descending vocal line of the first half of the poem is reversed in the second half to be joyful and ascendant. That’s the intention. I’d be very happy to hear from anyone, not necessarily only baritones, whether it works.

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