The Song of the Shirt, by Lydia Kakabadse
Contemporary Composition for Soprano and Piano, with words by Thomas Hood
Alternatively, for Alto Flute (in lieu of soprano) and Piano
Score for Soprano and Piano, and Alternative Alto Flute Part, PDF $10.99
Lydia Kakabadse scored her composition The Song of the Shirt for soprano and piano, setting to music the words of the poem of the same title written in 1843 by Thomas Hood. The composer writes in her program notes: “The text depicts abject poverty, misery and the cruel exploitation of the poor. They conjure up a picture of a woman in rags, worn out by endlessly sewing in filthy, pitiful conditions, appealing to the consciences of men. Hood’s words are very inspirational and both the piano and voice reflect these brutal agonies. The melancholic tone of the words and the monotony of such a wretched existence are characterized by the wide use of minor keys and bare intervals.”
The beautiful, haunting melody of The Song of the Shirt is infused with pathos, and is well-suited to the character of the alto flute, as well as soprano. Our edition includes a part for alto flute in G to be utilized in lieu of the soprano voice, at the performers’ discretion, for a fully instrumental "song without words" rendition of the piece.
The Song of the Shirt has been recorded by Clare McCaldin and Christian Wilson and appears on the "Lydia Kakabadse" CD (Naxos 8.572524). Click the link to listen to an audio clip of the track posted on the composer’s website.
Piano and Soprano score, 8 pages; Alto Flute part, 2 pages; Total, 14 pages.