• Alison Bauld
  • Banquo's Buried (1982)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by Roger Covell with assistance from the Australian council for the Arts

  • Soprano/pf
  • 10 min
  • Shakespeare
  • English

Programme Note

Banquo’s Buried was commissioned by Roger Covell for the University of New South Wales Music Department, Sydney and first performed there by the Seymour Group on 22 October 1982. The London premiere was given by Frances Lynch and Lucy Wilson at Leighton House, London on 17 May 1985.

The text is Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking scene, from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The treatment of it owes a little to the composer’s memory of a powerful and idiosyncratic performance of the role by Dame Sybil Thorndike. The manner was operatic and perhaps, even then, unfashionable, but there was a ‘go-for-broke’ spirit which made sense of the tragedy.

The piece was conceived for all sopranos who enjoy a sense of theatre.

© Alison Bauld


Yet here’s a spot.
Out, damned spot! out, I say!—One: two: why, then ’tis time to do ’t.—Hell is murky!—Fie, my lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?—Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?
The thane of Fife had a wife; where is she now?—What, will these hands ne’er be clean?—No more o’ that, my lord, no more o’ that; you mar all with this starting.
Here’s the smell of the blood still; all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh!
Wash your hands, put on your nightgown; look not so pale.—I tell you yet again, Banquo’s buried; he cannot come out on ’s grave.
To bed, to bed! there’s knocking at the gate. Come, come, come, come, give me your hand. What’s done cannot be undone.—To bed, to bed, to bed!

Shakespeare: Macbeth (act V, scene i)