At about this time of year, during the Covid pandemic of 2020-21, I was enjoying the Spring sunshine in Suffolk, where a small cottage was providing us with shelter while our house 40 miles away in Colchester was recovering from a water leak and subsequent drying out and asbestos removal. The awakening of the earth, the trees and flowers, and the escape from building work, was so refreshing that I started putting pen to paper – anyway, that’s my excuse for writing yet another setting of this very well-known poem.
The author of the poem was a nineteenth-century schoolmaster called Folliot S. Pierpoint – and he was inspired to write it while sitting on a hillside near his native city of Bath, admiring the serene country views and the river flowing below – for him, too, this must have provided a welcome relief from the noise and chalk-dust of the schoolroom.
My task, writing for SATB choir and organ, was to recreate this vision of nature with melodies and harmonies that reflected that world all around us, and to mirror the sense of abundance by making the texture gradually grow from solo voice, to two-part imitative counterpoint, four-part harmony, and finally a soprano descant soaring above the melody in all the other voices. A well-worn pattern, of course, but I enjoyed writing it and I hope you enjoy it too!
You can see and hear the music with this scrolling score
And you can obtain copies of the music here
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