Lament

Lament (1990)
soprano, clarinet, violin, harp and piano
or soprano, clarinet and piano          duration 8 mins.

This dramatic scena is based on the English folk-song `All things are quite silent’ and is the lament of a woman whose partner has been press-ganged to fight in the Napoleonic Wars. All the musical material is based on the folk-song melody, which appears complete at the end, where the soprano sings the last verse. The words of the rest of the song are not sung, but the music sets to portray something of the feelings expressed by them.

(Not sung)
All things are quite silent, each mortal at rest,
When me and my love got snug in one nest,
When a bold set of ruffians they entered our cave,
And they forced my dear jewel to plough the salt wave.

I begged hard for my sailor as though I begged for life,
They would not listen to me although a fond wife,
Saying “The King he wants sailors, to the sea he must go”,
And they’ve left me lamenting in sorrow and woe.

Through green fields and meadows we ofttimes did walk,
And sweet conversation of love we have talked,
With the birds in the woodland so sweetly did sing,
And the lovely thrushes’ voices made the valleys to ring.

(Sung)
Although by love’s gone I will not be cast down,
Who knows but my sailor may once more return?
And will make me amends for all trouble and strife,
And my true love and I might live happy for life.

First performed by Tapestry at an SPNM concert in Colchester 24 October 1990: trio version first performed by Gemini, London 10 November 1993

Link to recording of trio version here

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