Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.


Three Songs on Old Texts

for soprano and piano

Year:  2010   ·  Duration:  8m

Year:  2010
Duration:  8m

Chris Adams

Composer:   Chris Adams

Films, Audio & Samples

CHRIS ADAMS: Three Songs on...

Embedded video
See details ➔
Sample Score

Sample: Page 1, 6, 8 and 11

See details ➔


To borrow items or hire parts please email SOUNZ directly at


These songs were written while at the University of Otago Wallace residence at Pah Homestead. The texts are all from around the 16th Century. The first, The Three Rauens, is of English origin, appearing as the text for a song in Thomas Ravenscroft's Melismata. The second, The Elphin Knight, is Scottish and is an older version of Scarborough Fair. The final song, Je ne l'ose dire, is the text from a madrigal by Pierre Certon, and is a gossip song about a man who is being cuckolded by his wife.

“With melody-line and form generally akin to Renaissance song, the contemporary harmonies and pianoforte style of accompaniment gave these delightful songs 21st century gilding.”
– Elizabeth Bouman, Otago Daily Times

Click here for the version for mezzo-soprano, viola and cello.

Commissioned note

Written for Helen Acheson, while at the University of Otago Wallace Arts Residency at Pah Homestead

Contents note

  1. The Three Rauens
  2. The Elphin Knight
  3. Je ne l'ose dire

Text note

Three three texts come from around the 16th century; The Three Rauens is the text from a song in Melismata published by Thomas Ravenscroft in 1611, The Elphin Knight is an old Scottish ballad which is the basis for the text for Scarborough Fair, and Je ne l’ose dire is the text from a madrigal by Pierre Certon published in 1572.

Performance history

29 Sep 2010: Performed by Helen Acheson (soprano) and John Van Buskirk (piano) at Marama Hall, University of Otago, in Dunedin

10 Feb 2024: Performed by Nicola Holt (soprano) and Jeremy Woodside (piano) as part of Songs for Helen, The Piano, Christchurch, 10 February 2024.

+ Read More