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April is in my Mistress' face - Thomas Morley

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Uploaded on May 24, 2009

April is in my Mistress' face
Composed by Thomas Morley (c.1557-1602)
Performed by the Douglas Frank Chorale

April is in my Mistress' face,
And July in her eyes hath place.
Within her bosom is September,
But in her heart, a cold December.

English composer, Thomas Morley, chose mainly to compose lighter forms of music. A more serious type of vocal music was the madrigal. This seriousness was reflected in the type of poetry chosen and the manner in which it was set to music.

While Morley rarely delved into the world of the ultra-serious, his madrigal, April is in my Mistress' face, is a remarkable example of his concisely elegant and refined style.

In the text, one month from each season of the year is used metaphorically to describe the characteristics of the poet's "mistress." The text is a translation of Nel vis'ha un vago Aprile, composed by Orazio Vecchi from his Book of Canzonets à 6, though Morley did not use Vecchi's music.

The turn from sweet, tertian duets used for April and July to minor, melancholic subdominant and mediant harmonies for September and "cold" December is an effective means of depicting the dual-faceted nature of the lady in the poem, and perhaps of love itself.

S: Sara Botkin, Melissa Raymond, Cynthia Shaw
A: Grace Check, Ariane Reinhart
T: Thom Baker, Marcos Vigil
B: Steve Friedman, Gregg Lauterbach, Mark Sullivan

Performance recorded May 2000
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dougfrank
"You'll love the performers." - The New York Times "This CD takes you to another place, another time, and a higher plane. What is most remarkable about this CD, since many of the selections are familiar to conductors and singers, is the truly stunning ensemble performance of these professional singers ~ I would venture to say transformational ~ creating music and a recording of it that is special and rare."

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