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Four Medieval Lyrics

for mezzo-soprano and string trio

Year:  1965   ·  Duration:  24m

Year:  1965
Duration:  24m

Composer:   Ronald Tremain


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Four Medieval Lyrics is a song cycle of settings of 14th and 15th century religious and secular verse. The fusion of old and new, of medieval poetic imagery with 20th century musical language offers rich possibilities. Not only the scholar plunders the past, but the composer too, making that past accessible to our modern sensibility. This poetry is distant enough to be treated with a certain detachment and objectivity; at the same time the lyrics have a delicacy, a freshness a restraint which can still speak to us today. (from Words and Music an essay by Ronald Tremain, November 1988)

The text settings of this work are interspersed with fantasia for the strings; these use both metered and unmetered notation.

Contents note

  1. Corpus Christi Carol
  2. Westron Wynde
  3. I Sing of a Maiden
  4. There is no Rose.

Text note

Text translated by Helen Waddell

Performance history

Performed by Heather Begg (Mezzo) Ruth Pearl (Violin), Vyvyan Yendoll (Viola), and Farquhar Wilkinson (Cello) in June 1967.