At the Railway Station, Upway

Poet: Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

Source:  Winter Words

Date of Composition:  1953 (Mar. – Sep.)

Publication: Boosey & Hawkes, 1953

Voice Difficulty Level: Difficult

Subject:  A boy plays his violin for a handcuffed convict waiting on a train.

Range:  E4 – G5

Tessitura:  E4 – D5

Tempo: Lightly and like an improvisation; 4/4

Duration:  01:54

Vocal Characteristics: Entire song is recitative like, with the exception of the convict’s song; wordy;

Piano Difficulty Level:  Difficult

Accompaniment Characteristics: Only in treble clef; Britten indicates “like and improvistation,” and there is virtually no rhythm to the song; arpeggiated grace notes; stylistically variant

Additional Comments: No tonal or rhythmic anchor; requires independence and great collaboration between singer and pianist; Manuscript does not include numerical tempo marking; tempo indication in the manuscript reads “lightly;” pp. 28, indications of (sustained) and moving forward are not in the manuscript; pp. 29, indications of rhythmic and (as before) are not in the manuscript

© Nicholas Perna and Mandy Spivak 2013