The Woodforde Family

A History of the Woodforde Family from 1300

THE MUSIC OF AMY WOODFORDE-FINDEN

by Sarah Green



Four Indian Love Lyrics - A singer's reflections

I don't remember when I first heard Four Indian Love Lyrics. They were part of the fabric of my childhood. Grandmother died when I was young, and much of her sheet music came to us. Ours was one of those old-fashioned families which made its own entertainment, and singing around the piano was the norm.

 

The temple bells are ringing, 
And the young green corn is springing, 
And the marriage month is drawing very near. 
I lie hidden in the grass, 
And I count the moments pass, 
For the month of marriages is very near

 

A mainly self-taught musician, I realised early on that my piano playing would never advance beyond beginner's level. Still, I struggled on, thumping out "The Temple Bells" as if they were ringing in mankind's downfall, not the month of marriages, wailing "Farewell Zahirudin!" with all the dramatic intensity I could muster, and indulging my adolescent fantasies to the full during the Kashmiri Song. 

At once thunderous and hesitant, I rejoiced in Amy Woodforde-Finden's full, sensual harmonies, just teetering on the wrong side of respectability, a perfect setting for Laurence Hope's almost-scandalous verses. I played and listened to them over and over, trying to imagine how they would sound in the hands of a real pianist. 


Manuscript cover

 

Newly engaged, and visiting my future husband's parents for the first time, I was delighted to find a copy of the Love Lyrics inside the piano stool, and decided to have a go. Alas, they were pitched for contralto, lower than I was accustomed, I was a poor sight-reader, and neither my fingers nor my vocal range could cope.

Years passed, I raised a family, and sang unaccompanied and unappreciated. Recently I discovered computers, and the craft of MIDI sequencing. To the uninitiated, MIDI, which stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, is a set of commands to synthesizers to play such-and-such a note at this pitch, that volume, and so forth. 

In a nutshell, MIDI is the modern, digital equivalent of the piano roll, and well suited my needs. With the help of a few inexpensive, or free, programs, I could instruct my own virtual accompanist, and come out as a "real" singer at last. 

More on Amy Woodforde-Finden here

When I am dying, lean over me tenderly, softly... stoop, as the yellow roses droop In the wind from the south;  so I may when I wake - if there be an awakening - keep what lulled me to sleep - the touch of your lips on my mouth.

The Love Lyrics count among my earliest efforts, but I have worked and reworked them many times. These recordings were done at home, on my computer, using just a microphone plugged into my soundcard, my home-produced backing tracks and an Open Source, multi-track recorder called "Audacity".

Pale hands I loved beside the Shalimar,
Where are you now? Who lies beneath your spell?
Whom do you lead on Rapture's roadway, far,
Before you agonise them in farewell?


Nowadays I try to bring more thought and maturity to the songs than I could as a teenager. "The Temple Bells" speaks of excitement and longing, "Less Than The Dust" of despair. Technically, I think the Kashmiri Song is the most difficult, especially regarding breath control! I learnt "Till I Wake" as an adult ( I think my strict, Catholic grandmother may have physically censored our copy of the music!); of the four I find this the most satisfying to sing: the contrasting themes of serene acceptance and joyful expectation are a delightful challenge.

Sarah Green


Useful links 

http://www.mozart.co.uk
MOZART the Music Processor (shareware) - notation and MIDI  

http://www.jazzware.com
Jazz++(Open Source) - MIDI 

http://audacity.sourceforge.net
Audacity - (Open Source) - Audio recording and mixing  

http://www.synthfont.com
SynthFont, freeware


Listen to the Love Lyrics

Sarah's own performance of the Love Lyrics is available here.  Please take a few minutes to enjoy her interpretations.

Please note that these performances are copyright. You are welcome to play them but not to save them for reproduction. These audio files are in mp3 format.

Click on the song of your choice:  


Discography

The Four Indian Love Lyrics from The Garden of Kama were published in 1902 with words by Lawrence Hope (Adela Florence Cory) and music by Amy Woodforde-Finden.

Current and recently deleted CD recordings of the Love Lyrics include:

Birdsongs at Twilight  (Helios)
Compilation of parlour songs performed by Robert White and Stephen Hough

A Dream of Paradise  (Timbre Records)
Compilation of Victorian parlour songs performed by Nicholas Folwell and Philip Thomas

Pale Hands I loved  (Meridian)
Compilation of similar material performed by Henry Whickam and Susie Allan

Richard Tauber in London  (Testament)
A performance by Tauber with the Lyceum Theatre Orchestra of Kashmiri Song

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Text and audio Sarah Green 3 February 2006
Amy Woodforde-Finden's compositions 1903 Boosey & Co and cleared for public performance
Design and other content Stephen Butt 2006 Rev 15/05/09