"Meadowlark" from The Baker's Wife
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
This page includes "Meadowlark Lyrics," "Meadowlark" CDs, "Meadowlark" sheet music, "Meadowlark" CD reviews
See also the main The Baker's Wife page
"Meadowlark" Recordings by solists or others
Patti LuPone - Patti LuPone Live - (BMG/RCA Victor, 1993)
Includes Patti's concert version of "Meadowlark" and her comments about performing in "The Baker's Wife"
Betty Buckley - Children Will Listen
"Meadowlark" Sheet Music
The 292-page Stephen Schwartz Songbook includes The Baker's Wife sheet music and others as Stephen plays them. "Meadowlark," "Proud Lady," "Where is the Warmth" "Chanson," Gifts of Love"
(copyright by Grey Dog Music - All Rights Reserved)
WHAT DOES HE THINK I AM?
WHO DOES HE THINK HE IS?
WHEN I WAS A GIRL l I HAD A FAVORITE STORY
"SING FOR ME, MY MEADOWLARK,
THEN ONE DAY AS THE LARK SANG BY THE WATER
AND NOW I STAND HERE STARRY-EYED AND STORMY
Background info (for those who haven't seen the show)
In response to a question about Meadowlark, Stephen Schwartz wrote this on his discussion forum at stephenschwartz.com:
"The character who sings the song, Genevieve, is married to an older man. The man is kind to her and she likes him, but she is not in love with him. She has settled for this marriage because of heartbreak in her past. Then, unexpectedly, she has met a handsome young man, a man her age, who seems to have fallen for her. She finds herself increasingly attracted to the young man, though she does her best to hide her attraction from him and herself. On this night, the young man is leaving town forever and asks her to come with him, telling her he loves her. But of course she knows if she does, it will break her husband's heart. The song "Meadowlark" is her struggle with this dilemma. She remembers a story she loved as a little girl, and sees in it now a metaphor for her situation -- in remembering it, she realizes what she thinks she must do, but it is a decision that is not easy for her."
Feature article on "Meadowlark"
'SING FOR ME, MY MEADOWLARK'-- Betty Buckley and Patti LuPone
by Shawn McCarthy
Since its debut in 1976, the irresistible "Meadowlark" from "The Baker's Wife" has become a particular favorite song within the musical theatre community. Among the many performers who sing this piece as part of their repertoire are such notables as Patti LuPone and Betty Buckley.
For both of these divas of the American stage, this song is not just another 'number' in their act but a signature song yet each interpretation is uniquely their own.
Betty Buckley's rendition is very dramatic, showing a range of emotions from great joy and jubilation to heartbreaking sadness. This contrast is particularly evident in the bridge where she slows down the tempo. The bridge itself is interesting in this version, because the lyric is different than on any other recording of the piece as well as the published sheet music. Specifically the line "But the Meadowlark said no, for the old king love her so" is changed in Betty's version to "But the Meadowlark declined, for her King had been so kind." The arrangement of the piece is also unique in that it is 'jazz' oriented with a rhythmic, driving feel to it through the use of percussion and the bass line. (This arrangement can also be heard on her live London recording.)
Betty Buckley has had a long history with this song. In fact, Stephen told a story about her interpretation of the song on Betty's special that aired on the Bravo network. Stephen heard her sing this song a number of years ago where she had changed a note (specifically lowered one little note) near the beginning of the song. He liked what he heard however. So much so that when it came time to publish the sheet music, he changed the original note he had written to her lower note, as he now preferred it to the original.
Patti LuPone's rendition on both the Original Cast recording of the Baker's Wife (she was, after all, the original Genevieve opposite Paul Sorvino in 1976) and on her "Patti LuPone - Live" CD, although not as dramatically conceived as Buckley's, is certainly compelling, displaying her powerful 'chest voice' and beautiful phrasing. Patti's diction in her singing of "Meadowlark" is clear and crisp ensuring that the listener catches every word of Stephen's thoughtful lyric. When singing this song, Patti uses the original arrangement--a gorgeous flowing piano accompaniment, which, on its own, is a wonderful piece of music.
Whether you prefer Patti or Betty (or another performer altogether), "Meadowlark" remains an incredible 'story' song that not only works beautifully within the plot of the Baker's Wife but has become a special song for performers and musical theatre fans around the world.
Patti LuPone: [Original 1976 Broadway Cast], Take Home Tunes, 1997 The Baker's Wife [Original Soundtrack] [new browser window]
Read about Carole Demas and her experience with the song. The Baker's Wife original "Genevieve" - Carole Demas
Don't miss the new Stephen Schwartz Songbook including The Baker's Wife songs as Stephen plays them.
Meadowlark (Scored For: Piano/Vocal), If I Have to Live Alone, Where is the Warmth
by Ed Heaberlin - May 17, 2000 11:23
I am a little baffled over the misunderstandings of the wonderful musical. If a person sat in the theatre and only saw someone call a cat a slut or dislikable people singing about bread, they did not see what I invision to be the production of The Baker's Wife. The Baker's Wife is this wonderful musical about finding personal fullfillment by accepting who you are, by accepting love and how it is given to you, and by accepting personal responsibility in relationships. I just think this musical is misunderstood.
The music in the show is some of Schartz's finest. Beautiful harmonies. Some of the most tender ballads ever written for musical theatre and all some people see is a man calling a cat a slut. DUH! The cat is a metaphor for him talking about his relationship with his wife. He addresses the animal because it is easier to handle that way. She even says "She will not leave" - something like that.
I can not wait till I have the oportunity to direct this show. I have had it in my consideration stack for several years. Oh well. The Baker's Wife is a WONDERFUL show! --email@example.com
Comment by John Heaton - May 11, 2000
I've never seen the show; I've only heard the Take Home Tunes soundtrack album. But judging only on that, I rank it as one of my favorite scores. firstname.lastname@example.org