The Cruel Mother Christopher Leedham

The Cruel Mother cover
Text/libretto by
5 mins

Voice, accompanied Voice(s) & 4-7 Instruments

1 Voice, 1 Flute, 1 B-flat Clarinet, 1 Violin, 1 Violoncello

Purchasing options

Score ISMN 57036-628-6 £7.95 Buy now
Parts ISMN 57036-629-3 £14.95 Buy now
Firewheel Anthology (Score) ISMN 57036-615-6 £29.95

for voice, flute, clarinet, violin and cello

Programme note

Commissioned by Dark Inventions for their Firewheel project, part of the Sound and Music ‘Composer Curator Scheme’. Premiered by Dark Inventions at The Engine House, Manchester, 8th May 2014.

The murderous tale of infanticide that is told in The Cruel Mother ballad is widely known in a number of forms. It has been performed and recorded by folk singers such as Martin Carthy, Maddy Prior, and Bella Hardy amongst many others, and inspired Down by the Greenwood Side by Harrison Birtwistle.

The particular melody used in this arrangement was collected by H.E.D. Hammond in Dorset in 1907. The matter-of-fact representation of the terrible tale that characterizes the tune is augmented by the quintuple metre and cheerful instrumental refrain.

Dark Inventions, The Engine House, Manchester, 8th May 2014
  • 26 Feb 2016 | 6:00pm |

    The Treehouse, Berrick Saul building, University of York


    Louisa Dobson (soprano), Late Music Ensemble, cond. James Whittle

  • 16 May 2014 | 7:30pm |

    Capstone Theatre, Liverpool


    Dark Inventions and Stef Conner (voice) cond. Christopher Leedham

  • 12 May 2014 | 1:10pm |

    The Lit & Phil


    Dark Inventions and Stef Conner (voice) cond. Christopher Leedham

  • 11 May 2014 | 8:00pm |

    Left Bank, Leeds


    Dark Inventions and Stef Conner (voice) cond. Christopher Leedham

  • 10 May 2014 | 7:30pm |

    National Centre for Early Music, York


    Dark Inventions and Stef Conner (voice) cond. Christopher Leedham

  • 8 May 2014 | 7:30pm |

    The Engine House, Manchester


    Dark Inventions and Stef Conner (voice) cond. Christopher Leedham

Included in
  • Firewheel Anthology cover

    Firewheel Anthology

    Vibrant chamber ensemble pieces and songs by emerging composers, written for Dark Inventions.