English Song: Manning, Gerald - Holy Thursday, Op.21 - for Soprano & String Quartet

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ENGLISH SONG: Holy Thursday Text: William Blake (1757-1827) Songs of Innocence & of Experience Music: Gerald Manning

The inspiration for this song is drawn from the poems of William Blake�s �Songs of Innocence and Experience� which embody not only the talents of a writer, but also those of an artist working in illuminated printing, applying words and pictures to copper plates with the surrounding surfaces etched away. Throughout, Blake uses arrestingly musical verse forms: it is thought that he set several to his own melodies, though no scores have survived. The group of poems associated with experience (of which this is one), is replete with images of restriction and constraint, occasionally self-imposed, but more commonly imposed by parents or authority figures on the lives of the young. Even those associated with innocence; contain discontinuities, as though in anticipation of the much harsher view of life outlined in the second sequence. To summarize, Songs of Innocence show life through the eyes of innocent children, whilst Songs of Experience demonstrate an older person’s realisation that there is pain and terror in the world.

Score ID
Year of composition
William Blake (1757-1827)
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
3 minutes
String quartet
Classical music
Instrumental parts

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