The Piano Transcriptions of Robert Helps

Love is a Sickness Full of Woes (1995) [piano solo]

— The second "free and strict" transcription, here of John Ireland’s bittersweet song "Love is a Sickness Full of Woes".
Helps uses the two original text verses to form the structure of “LiaSFoW”:
the first presents a rather faithful rendering of the original, the second is covered with Helps’ decadent harmonic fingerprints.
This is also the only explicit compositional testament of Helps’ ten-year love affair with Ireland’s underappreciated music.

Duration: 3 ½ minutes

The score of this lovely transcription is dedicated to Teresa Ancaya and Andrew Infanti.

The opening of Love is a Sickness Full of Woes, already burdened with sighs
Listen to 2nd verse of LiaSFoW
played by Robert Helps
Transcriptions tour : read about Transcription no. 3
Sound clip - LiaSFoW
Original text (verse one):

Love is a sickness full of woes
All remedies refusing,
A flower that with most cutting, grows,
Most barren with best using.
Why so?
More we enjoy it, more it dies
If not enjoyed it, sighing, cries:
Heigh Ho! Heigh Ho… *

* Helps suggested replacing the obsolete British interjection “Heigh Ho!” with the evergreen Yiddishism “Oy Vay!” to better convey the song’s existential plaint…