The Woodforde Family

A History of the Woodforde Family from 1300

AMY WOODFORDE-FINDEN
1860-1919

Amelia Woodforde-Finden



Amy Woodforde-Finden was born Amy Ward, and was descended by marriage from Revd Heighes Woodforde, vicar of Epsom and canon at Chichester. 

Heighes' youngest son, Revd John Woodforde, sometime rector of North Curry in Somerset, married Rebecca Hamilton and had five children. Their eldest son was Dr Robert Woodforde who married Sarah Wright. Their eldest son, Dr John Woodforde of Bridgwater, also in Somerset, had four children of whom the youngest was Melliora Woodforde. She married George Corfield Finden sometime of Gloucester Terrace, Hyde Park, London. She was one of nine children.

Their only son was Lt Col Woodford Woodforde-Finden (1846-1916), a brigadier and surgeon, who married Amy Ward. He served with the 11 Bengal Cavalry, the 2nd Gurkhas. He died on 27 April 1916 after which her mother relocated Amy and the family back to London.

Around that time Amy displayed a skill for composition and became a student of Carl Schloesser and Amy Horrocks. Her early work, published as Amy Ward, though promising was received only tepidly.

Amy is known as a prolific composer of `eastern ditties,' which effectively captured the mood and morals of the period.

Born at Valparaiso in Chile, she composed songs including O Flower of All the World, Golden Hours, The Lover in Damascus, and The Pagoda of Flowers.  She is probably best known for her set of Indian Love Lyrics' with words by Lawrence Hope. Of the four lyrics, Kashmiri Song proved an instant hit and immediately turned the tenuous connection between India and King Edward’s English-speaking subjects into a pulsating affair of the heart.

The Indian Love Lyrics were originally self-published in 1902 but because of its popularity and the influence of Hamilton Earle, were eventually published by Boosey & Co. The popularity of Kashmiri Songs and kept her in the good graces of her publishing house and in the hearts of her audience. Her songs are noted for their sentimentality, their romantic fluidity and how they blend a particularly British, middle class sensibility with an Asian pastiche. In the years that followed the success of Kashmiri Songs Amy composed On Jhelum River, The Pagoda of Flowers and Stars of the Desert. The year 1916 was a bittersweet one for Amy, she lost her husband in April and her work was featured in the film Less Than Dust.. This is just the first of her work to be showcased in film. In 1943 Kashmiri Songs would be used in the film Hers To Hold.

KASHMIRI SONG

 

Pale hands I loved beside the Shalimar,
Where are you now? Who lies beneath your spell?
Whom do you lead on Rapture's roadway, far,
Before you agonise them in farewell?
 
Pale hands, pink-tipped, like lotus-buds that float
On those cool waters where we used to dwell,
I would have rather felt you round my throat
Crushing out life than waving me farewell!


Pale hands I loved beside the Shalimar, 
Where are you now? Where are you now? 
Pale hands, pink-tipped, like Lotus buds that float 
On those cool waters where we used to dwell,


I would have rather felt you round my throat 
Crushing out life, than waving me farewell!
Pale hands I loved beside the Shalimar,
Where are you now? Where are you now?
 
 
 


To read more about the music of 
Amy Woodforde-Finden and to hear modern-day performances of the 
four Indian Love Lyrics, please go to 

our supplementary page


 

Manuscript - O Flower of all the world Violet Nicolson
Adela Florence (Violet) Nicolson
 aka Lawrence Hope
(1865-1904)

‘As a composer, Amy Woodforde-Finden was something of a mina [sic] bird, metaphorically speaking,’ write Michael R. Turner and Anthony Miall in The Edwardian Song Book (1982). ‘She seems to have been able to slip into a sari or a kimono as the subject required and to draw on a great wealth of half-remembered musical phrases to suit the poetry she was setting.’

Musically, the last of the Four Indian Love LyricsTill I Wake—has been judged the finest, taking the verse ‘out of the drawing-room into a far greater sphere’. The words of the poem are surely prophetic, and perfectly express the poet’s aspirations as she prepared to join her husband in eternity:

 

When I am dying, lean over me tenderly, softly,
Stoop, as the yellow roses droop in the wind from the South;
So I may, when I wake, if there be an Awakening,
Keep, what lulled me to sleep, the touch of your lips on my mouth.


 

Woodforde-Finden manuscript

 

 

Amy Woodforde-Finden lived on until 1919 and, according to Turner and Miall, ‘died—still composing—at the piano in her London flat and was buried at Hampsthwaite in Yorkshire, where her memorial, a recumbent figure in white marble, is `something to behold’.  The memorial (below) can be seen in the context of the church and area by visiting this site.

 

Pale Hands I Loved Beside the Shalimar is a beautiful Edwardian love song obviously inspired by time spent in India by the composers, Lawrence Hope and Amy Woodforde-Finden.

At the beginning of the 20th Century, with British Rule, the adventure and exotic romance of India, and Edward VII ascending the throne, there was a love affair between England and Eastern poetry and music.
Church memorial to Amy Woodforde-Finden A Lover in Damascus cover

Amy's songs are still in demand, and many are on CD recordings on current release. A music reviewer, Anne Ozorio, recently wrote of Amy's music:

"Amy Woodforde-Finden typified the Englishwoman Abroad, living in the colonies, but as a privileged observer from outside. Eroticism is "safe" if the cultural context is alien and Empire is unchallenged. Her If in the great bazaars is pastiche Arabic, complete with a chorus of "la, la, la" imitating an Arabic call. The subject may be Moorish but the perspective is unwaveringly Home Counties middle class."

 

Manuscript - Kashmiri Song Colour manuscript cover
The lyric of this song was taken from a particularly beautiful piece of poetry in a collection written by Laurence Hope. The song was immensely popular in Edwardian England. Quite a scandal followed the publishing of these volumes of poetry when it was revealed that Lawrence Hope was the pseudonym for Adela Florence Cory, the wife of an Indian Army General.  It is thought that the two women never met.

Amy's Musicography

Four Indian Love Lyrics. The words from "The Garden of Karma" by Laurence Hope

Stars of the Desert. Four more Indian Love Lyrics by Laurence Hope

The Pagoda of Flowers. A Burmese story in song, written by Frederick John Fraser

Aziza. Three oriental songs.  The words by Frederick John Fraser

A Dream of Egypt.  Song cycle. The words by Charles Hanson Towne

The Magic Casement.  Song Cycle.  The words by Charles Hanson Towne

The Myrtles of Damascus.  A set of five songs, the words by Charles Hanson Towne

A Lover in Damascus. A set of six songs, he words by Charles Hanson Towne

Five Little Japanese Songs.  The words by Charles Hanson Towne

On Jhelum River.  A Kashmiri Love Story written by Frederick John Fraser

Golden Hours.  A set of four songs, the words by Gilbert Parker

Three Little Mexican Songs.  Founded on old Mexican Airs. The words by Harold Simpson

 

Comments and contributions to this site are welcome.
Please email
here

Text and design © Stephen Butt 2004 - rev 14/03/11  
Image of Hampsthwaite memorial © Peter Howard
Laurence Hope's lyrics © 1903 Boosey & Co but
cleared for reproduction


Site Map
                 Home Page

 

"The legacy Amy Woodforde-Finden leaves is one of bridging cultures with music and words. She interpreted the sounds and motives of Asian-South Asian music to an American-European audience and transported the listener to a world of romance and the exotic."