For high voice and piano (15 mins)
Father and child
Before the world was made
For Anne Gregory
The fool by the roadside
From the Antigone
In A woman young and old, behind the mask of age, W.B.Yeats sings of love objectively. Passion and bitterness give way paradoxically to reflection and wit, to appearance and reality, to youth and age, to truth and myth. The musical structure too is taut, bound together by a 4-note motif common to all the songs, and by an ambivalent tonality. An unyielding march-like pulse governs Meeting, with the tonal ambivalence in the ostinato piano chords, and the 4-note motif becoming more insistent, until in the final song it becomes a declamatory cry “Overcome, – O bitter sweetness”, and the ambivalence colours the piano part, like the Blues.
The score is available for this work and a full performance is available for download and on CD.
First performance 12 October 1962 London (Leighton House, Kensington)
by Noelle Barker and Colin Tilney
ISMN M 708046 0208
LISTEN TO A SOUND SAMPLE
Margaret Field (soprano) Andrew Ball
VI Meeting 2’45”
VII From Antigone 3’05”