Choral Music Prelude: “Pleasure it is to hear iwis” – Cecil Cope (1909-2003)Pleasure it is to hear, iwis,* the birdés sing. The deer in the dale, The sheep in the vale, The corn springing. God’s purveyance** for sustenance it is for man. Then we always Him give praise; And thank him than***. * ‘in truth’ ** ‘provision’ *** ‘then’
-William Cornish (1465-1523)
Today’s choral music prelude is based on a 16th century poem/song by William Cornish (1465-1523) who was Master of the Chapel Royal under Henry VII and Henry VIII. He was also responsible for musical and dramatic entertainments at court for important diplomatic events such as the Field of the Cloth of Gold (1520) as well as visits to the court of France and the Holy Roman Empire. The original song melody is lost, the sole surviving copy being of the text and the bass line printed in Wynkyn de Worde’s, Twenty Songs (Bassus), published in 1530. The text has been set to music several times in the last century, notably by Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) in his Ceremony of Carols of 1942 as well as John Ireland (1879-1962) in 1938 in his Five XVIth Century Poems. The musical setting offered today by our Schola Cantorum Choir is by Cecil Cope, a British composer, born in 1909 in Lichfield and died in Forest Row, East Sussex in 2003.