Performed as a companion piece to Private Peaceful, this short show by Sam Hird (vocals) and Sam Johnson (piano) of the songs by George Butterworth based on A E Housman’s book of poems A Shropshire Lad continued the themes of thwarted love, the fleetingness of life, and being far from home which were so much part of the story of Private Peaceful.
A Shropshire Lad was apparently a popular book with many young soldiers who went off to fight in 1914, as the words of the poems struck a chord with them.
Beautifully sung by baritone Sam Hird, this performance was perfectly matched to Private Peaceful which had just played before it (and for which Sam Johnson had also provided the music, off-stage). It would of course also work well as a stand-alone piece, but the words of the songs seemed to have extra poignancy after watching Private Peaceful.
To complete the connection, composer George Butterworth was himself a casualty of war, being killed by a sniper’s bullet on the Somme in 1916.
Review by Lisa Sibbald
REVIEW OF PRIVATE PEACEFUL