In Commendation of Music

Somehow, I neglected to blog about this at the time… last year I wanted to make a birthday present for Stella, who keeps everything ticking over smoothly at Quire.

So of course I wrote a piece of music. The text is by one William Strode, and I chose it (after the usual laboured searching) because it was a fairly simple metrical poem which I could set in the style of an 18th-century glee. PDF file here and the usual too-slow MIDI. As always it’s released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license.

WHEN whispering strains do softly steal
With creeping passion through the heart
And when at every touch we feel
Our pulses beat and bear a part;
When threads can make
A heartstring shake
Can scarce deny
The soul consists of harmony.

When unto heavenly joy we feign
Whate’er the soul affecteth most,
Which only thus we can explain
By music of the wingàed host,
Whose lays we think
Make stars to wink,
Can scarce deny
Our souls consist of harmony.

O lull me, lull me, charming air,
My senses rock with wonder sweet;
Like snow on wool thy fallings are,
Soft, like a spirit’s, are thy feet:
Grief who need fear
That hath an ear?
Down let him lie
And slumbring die,
And change his soul for harmony.