The Woodforde Family
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.
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.
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
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".
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:
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.
and recently deleted CD recordings of the Love Lyrics include:
at Twilight (Helios)
Dream of Paradise (Timbre Records)
Hands I loved (Meridian)
Tauber in London (Testament)
and contributions to this site are welcome.
Text and audio © Sarah
Green 3 February 2006