Lydia Kakabadse: Two Chamber Songs – for mezzo-soprano and string quartet
Lydia Kakabadse: Two Chamber Songs – for mezzo-soprano and string quartet
Lydia Kakabadse: Two Chamber Songs – for mezzo-soprano and string quartet
Lydia Kakabadse: Two Chamber Songs – for mezzo-soprano and string quartet
Lydia Kakabadse: Two Chamber Songs – for mezzo-soprano and string quartet
Lydia Kakabadse: Two Chamber Songs – for mezzo-soprano and string quartet

Lydia Kakabadse: Two Chamber Songs – for mezzo-soprano and “alternative” string quartet (NXP085)

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This is a sheet music edition of Two Chamber Songs by the composer Lydia Kakabadse.

Sheet music for mezzo-soprano and string quartet

Spellbound – lyrics by Emily Brontë
Eldorado – lyrics by Edgar Allan Poe

Duration: ca. 6 minutes

Score: 22 pages
Parts: 12 pages

The mezzo-soprano performs from the score.

Preface and Programme Notes

Inspired by poets of the Romantic era (circa. 1800–1850), Two Chamber Songs is made up of Spellbound (lyrics by Emily Brontë, 1837) and Eldorado (lyrics by Edgar Allan Poe,1848). The work is scored for mezzo-soprano, violin, viola, cello and double bass.

Spellbound

The setting for this poem is the exposed and desolate Yorkshire moors. The lyrics, which I set to music in 2004, evoke a sense of mystery and magic and describe how despite worsening weather conditions (wild winds, snow, storm) a tyrant spell prevents the author from moving. She remains spellbound. The bass drone, over which the mezzo-soprano introduces the main theme, is played by the cello and creates a sense of mystery. Its repetition, together with the sparse accompaniment of the viola and bass in the first two verses, underlines the bleak and difficult conditions. The drone, also played by the viola an octave higher, connects the three verses. In the final verse, the author’s desperation becomes evident as she battles fortissimo against the tyrant spell - portrayed by the full force of the strings - preventing her from leaving this bleak place. The piece ends as mysteriously as it began, with the cello’s bass drone bringing it to a pianissimo close.

Eldorado

Set to music in 2007, the poem tells the tale of a knight in search of Eldorado, the legendary country of gold and untold treasures. The repetitive sequence of notes first played by the cello in the opening bars and later taken over by the viola is representative of the knight’s relentless pursuit of Eldorado. The first verse, with pizzicato accompaniment, is bright and cheerful as the knight sets off in sunshine and in shadow, but then the mood becomes dark and solemn in the next two verses, where the tempo is slower and the lower register of the voice and strings is utilised. There is no further mention of sunshine, only shadow. The syncopated rhythmic accompaniment of the bass, later taken up by the viola and cello, symbolises the faltering strength of the knight who, having grown old and weak, loses hope and asks a mysterious pilgrim shadow for help. The pilgrim shadow’s response in the final verse takes on a surreal mix of optimism and urgency, characterised by a repeat of the melody of the first verse and a passage of rapid arpeggios on the violin.

Lydia Kakabadse

Spellbound – Emily Brontë (1818–48)

  1. The night is darkening round me,
    The wild winds coldly blow;
    But a tyrant spell has bound me
    And I cannot, cannot go.

  2. The giant trees are bending
    Their bare boughs weighed with snow.
    And the storm is fast descending,
    And yet I cannot go.

  3. Clouds beyond clouds above me,
    Wastes beyond wastes below;
    But nothing drear can move me;
    I will not, cannot go.

Eldorado – Edgar Allan Poe (1809–49)

  1. Gaily bedight,
    A gallant knight,
    In sunshine and in shadow,
    Had journeyed long,
    Singing a song,
    In search of Eldorado.

  2. But he grew old –
    This knight so bold –
    And o’er his heart a shadow
    Fell as he found
    No spot of ground
    That looked like Eldorado.

  3. And, as his strength
    Failed him at length,
    He met a pilgrim shadow;
    “Shadow” said he,
    “Where can it be,
    This land of Eldorado?”

  4. “Over the mountains
    Of the Moon,
    Down the valley of the Shadow,
    Ride, boldly ride”
    The shade replied,
    “If you seek for Eldorado”. 

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