To Musick, Sing!
To Musick, Sing! is the third of three unaccompanied works written in the early 90ís (the others are a Mass for Four Voices and Benedicite omnes Angeli) in which I have explored different approaches to choral writing.† The Mass was primarily concerned with strict counterpoint and Benedicite omnes Angeli with homophony and vocal colour.† To Musick, Sing! is about textural contrasts and antiphony - largely between the two choirs, but also between low and high voices, and between soli and tutti.
The texts, drawn from a wide variety of sources (Traherne, Herrick, Sir John Davies, William Barnes and the anonymous 16th century Lekingfelde Proverbs), celebrate the vitalising effect of music and its power to draw us towards Heaven.† Without being a strictly religious work, it has nevertheless a strong spiritual element, in some ways similar to Britten and Auden's Hymn to St. Cecilia, which invokes the Saint to "startle composing mortals with immortal fire".
It is dedicated to the memory of Joan Brocklebank, a dear friend and musician, whose enthusiasm and encouragement brought music into the lives of so many people in her beloved Dorset.† Two of her particular passions, Dorset folk-song and the music of J. S. Bach, both find a place in this work.
To Musick, Sing! was commissioned by the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, who gave the first performance, under the direction of Timothy Brown, in March 1993.
© Christopher Brown 2011