Three English Madrigals
I. My Bonnie Lass, She Smileth
II. Weep, Weep Mine Eyes
III. Beside a Fountain
Written for advanced high school and early college choral groups, each piece of the collection of Three English Madrigals contains propaedeutic elements for singers to practice as developing musicians. The individual movements are written with a folk-style feel, which I felt complemented the style of the text, while incorporating practices of standard harmony and counterpoint with a slightly more 20th-century approach. The piece makes use of asymmetric and constantly changing meters, tight chordal harmonies, and elements of shifting key centers by use of common tones. Three English Madrigals is an excellent piece for a small Madrigal ensemble or a larger chorus and works well as an educational piece for any developing choir.
The first movement, “My Bonnie Lass She Smileth,” is written with two different sections of music that alternate back and forth. The first section is in a chorale style that is sung very legato while the second is a light, quasi-staccato “fa la la” section that incorporates changing meters and asymmetric time signatures for singers to work on their rhythm in addition to alternating between the different styles of the two sections.
The second movement, “Weep, Weep Mine Eyes,” is written as a four-part chorale with close harmonies and dissonances meant to strengthen singers on holding their part against semi-tone and whole-tone clashes.
The final movement, “Beside a Fountain,” splits the ensemble between the men and women. This is the only movement that contains divisi, which splits the men and women into 6 equal parts. This last section uses a folk-like sound but changes the key centers, usually by holding a common tone, as the men and women alternate between their parts, creating an added level of difficulty but allowing the music to shift through keys by using proper voice-leading.
Three English Madrigals received its world premiere at the Five Points Center in Washington, IL by the Washington Community High School Chamber Ensemble directed by Lara Reem.
The recordings were performed by the Bradley Chamber Singers under the direction of Dr. John Jost at the 2011 spring Peoria Lunaire concert.
To purchase sheet music for immediate download, click on the links below:
Three English Madrigals – MusicSpoke.com
Three English Madrigals – CadenzaOne.com