Richard Lambert Music

Five Shakespeare songs for baritone and piano (Op.20)

Five modal settings of well-known Shakespeare songs

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.

Performances

Publications

Under The Greenwood Tree (1981) is published in 'Music' GCSE Revise Guide: Longman 1990 (1st imp, 1st ed): 1992 (2nd imp; 1st ed): 1993 ( 2nd imp;2nd ed): 1994 (2nd imp;2nd ed): 1995 ( 3rd imp; 2nd ed): 1997 (3rd ed): 2000 (3rd imp)


Listen

This recording of Five Shakespeare songs for baritone and piano was produced using computer software called Sibelius: it is not a live recording.

Purchase

Purchase Five Shakespeare songs for baritone and piano from UMP

If you wish to listen to the piece on that website, select the ‘MP3 file’ link instead of playing the embedded score for better audio quality.

Like this? Try these