April 2016
190 pages
ISBN 978-1-909082-08-3
Price £15.00
Also by Nicola Harrison
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The Wordsmith’s Guide: Poetry, Music & Imagination
Volume I: The Songs of Roger Quilter
Nicola Harrison

The result of years of study, teaching and performance, and informed throughout by the author's love of poetry, Nicola Harrison invites the singer to think more expansively about the way they approach and sing English Song. The result of her work is unique, refreshing, and is certain to change the way singers perform and experience these classic songs

In this first volume (of a planned series of Wordsmith's Guides - a second volume on Ivor Gurney is published simultaneously), focusing on the music of Roger Quilter, she examines the poetry and lyrics of their songs, taking into account the context in which the words were written - the symbolism, mythologies, religion, philosophy, and the many other influences on the writer - digging deep into the text with fascinating results. Her exploration of English Song is entertaining, witty and illuminating, exploring the magical relationship of words and music, and the way each separate art is painted by the other. To this end, each song is offered as a mini narrative that invites the singer into a new world, firing the imagination and guiding them  to make their own interpretations. Offering both the well-known and the lesser known songs of these two composers, Nicola Harrison encourages a deeper exploration of the repertoire.  Here, the singer will find new songs to perform - and a fresh and authentic way of performing them. Further, those studying the literature may well find new insights and also a new understanding of the myth and subtle meaning of the lyrics.

Introduction: The Diverse Study of Poetry through Song
A Definition of English Song
Biographical Notes
Songs, alphabetical:
Arab Love Song
Blow thou winter wind
Bracelet, The
By a Fountainside
Cherry Ripe
Come Away Death
Constant Lover, The
Dream Valley
Fair House of Joy
Fear no more the heat o’ the sun
Go Lovely Rose
Hey, Ho the Wind and the Rain
How should I your true love know?
I arise from dreams of thee
It was a lover and his lass
Jealous Lover, The
Julia’s Hair
Love’s Philosophy
Maiden Blush, The
Music and Moonlight
Music, when soft voices die
Night-Piece, The
Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal
O mistress mine
Over the Mountains
Take O take those lips away
To Althea from Prison
To Daisies
Under the greenwood tree
Weep you no more sad fountains
When Icicles Hang by the Wall
Why so pale and wan, fond lover?
Song List by Opus
Printed Music
Guide to Grades
About the Author
Nicola Harrison has a unique portfolio of skills, all brought to bear in this book. As a school-leaver she won a scholarship to train with the mezzo-soprano Pamela Bowden and went on to be taught by the late Pamela Cook MBE (RNCM) and, in Spain, by legendary mezzo-soprano Teresa Berganza. Following graduation in English at the University of Oxford, she went on to train in nursing at the Westminster and Chelsea Hospital, London, during which time she was awarded the prestigious Wolfson Prize. After qualifying, she specialized in Ear, Nose and Throat and Voice Clinic. Nicola has also worked as a journalist and writer, contributing to national newspapers and singing-related media.
Currently, she is Lecturer in Singing and Song Interpretation at Pembroke College, University of Oxford, Lecturer in Teacher’s Voice at Westminster College of Education, London, and is a visiting lecturer at Oxford Brookes University. She has also been the voice and singing coach to the choral scholars of Brasenose College, University of Oxford and, in the past, to the young stars of Billy Elliot the Musical. Many of her students have gone on to become highly successful professionals. In addition, she continues to perform the Spanish repertoire with the critically-acclaimed touring company, Casa Margarita.
In her teaching and research she has focused on clarifying the language used to teach singing, resulting in a highly effective anatomy-based vocabulary for conveying a solid and liberated vocal technique.