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Thea Musgrave

Publisher: Novello & Co

Four Madrigals (1953)
Text Writer
Sir Thomas Wyatt
Chester Music Ltd
Chorus a cappella / Chorus plus 1 instrument
Year Composed
8 Minutes

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Programme Note
Thea Musgrave Four Madrigals (1953)

These four madrigals, settings of poems by the 16th century poet Sir Thomas Wyatt, are one of the composer's very earliest works. They were written in Paris in 1953 while she was a student of Nadia Boulanger.

They were originally composed for the Saltire Singers who first performed them in St Andrews, Scotland in March 1953. Since then many choruses (including the Kings Singers) have included them in their repertoires and they have been widely performed.

The texts are poems by Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-1552). They describe a lover's progress. At first he is miserably trapped "in love's snare" but at last he frees himself from this hopeless love: "Hate whom ye list, for I care not".

1. With serving still this have I won
For my goodwill to be undone.
And for redresse of all my pain
Disdaynefulness I have again.
And for reward of all my smart
Lo! Thus unheard I must depart.
Wherefore all ye that after shall
By fortune be, as I am, thrall.
Example take what I have won
Thus for her sake to be undone.

2. Tanglid I was in love’s snare,
Opprest with pain
Torment with care.
Of Grefe right sure,
Of joy full bare.
Clene in despair
By crueltie
But Ha! Ha! Ha! Full well is me
For I am now at Libertye.

The woful days
So full of pain,
The verye night,
All spent in vain.
The labour lost
For so small gain
To wryt them all
It will not be.
But Ha! Ha! Ha! Full well is me
For now I am at Libertye.

3. At most mischief I suffer grief
For of relief since I have none,
My lute and I continually
Shall us apply to sigh and mone.
Naught may prevail to weep or wail.
Pitie doth fail in you alas!
Complaint or none,
It is all one as in this case.
For crueltie
Hath soverynte
Within your heart
Which maketh bare
All my wellfare
Nor do you care how sore I smart.
Thus in mischief I suffer grief
For of relief since I have none
My lute and I continually
Shall us apply to sight and mone.

4. Hate whom ye list, for I care not;
Love whom ye list and spare not;
Do what ye list and drede not:
Think what ye list, I fere not.
For as for me, I am not
But even as one that reckes not,
Whether ye hate or hate not
For in your love I dote not
Love whom ye list and spare not
Therewith I am content.
Hate whom ye list and spare not
For I am indifferent,
Do what ye list and drede not
After your own fantasy
Think what ye list and fere not
For all is one to me,
For, as for me, I am not wavering, as the wind
But even as one that reckes not
Which way you turn your mind
For in your love I doubt not
But as one that reckes not
Whether you hate or hate not
Is least charge of my thought
Wherefore I pray you forget not
But that I am well content
For I’m indifferent

Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-1552)

  • Ensemble
    Florilegium Chamber Choir
    JoAnn Rice
  • 20 APR 2017
    Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden, UK
    National Youth Choir of Great Britain
    Ben Parry, conductor
  • 16 MAY 2015
    Royaumont, France, Europe
    Saltire Singers
  • 29 JUN 1997
    Ogden Hall, Hampton, VA, US
    King's Singers
  • 14 JUN 1995
    Merkin Hall, New York
    NY Virtuoso
  • 11 NOV 1994
    Newport, US
  • 22 MAY 1994
    Bloomingdale House, New York
    Nova Singers
  • 24 APR 1990
    Notre Dame, Paris, Europe
    Knox College
  • 03 FEB 1989
    Galesbury, Illinois, US
    Knox College
    Laura Lane, conductor
  • 24 JAN 1989
    Madison Singers
    David Watkins, conductor
  • 23 SEP 1988
    Warsaw Autumn Festival
    Warsaw, Poland
    King's Singers
  • 07 MAR 1988
    Columbia university, New York
    Calliope Singers
  • 18 JUN 1986
    Cincinnati, US
    CCM Chorale
  • 16 MAY 1986
    Chelmsford Cathedral, UK
  • 07 OCT 1985
    Huntsville, US
    Sam Houston Chorale
    B. R. Henson, conductor
  • 26 JUL 1983
    Royal Hall, Harrogate, UK
    King's Singers
  • 01 JAN 1983
    Carnegie Hall, New York
    King's Singers
  • 17 JUL 1982
    Cheltenham Festival
    Cheltenham, UK
    King's Singers
  • 10 FEB 1980
    Wigmore Hall, London
    Radio Telefis Eireann
    Jurgens, conductor
  • 11 APR 1973
    Purcell Room, London, UK
    London Concord Singers
    Malcolm Cottle, conductor
  • 16 APR 1969
    Purcell Room, London
    Elizabethan Singers
    Herrick Cyril William Bunney, conductor
  • 10 APR 1969
    Elizabethan Singers
    Herrick Cyril William Bunney, conductor
  • 09 NOV 1968
    Dartington, UK
    Singers In Consort
  • 24 OCT 1968
    Liverpool University, UK
    J. Alldis Choir Octet
    John Alldis, conductor
  • 15 JUL 1968
    City of London Festival
    London, UK
    Guildhall School Chamber Chorus
    John Alldis, conductor

    Other Dates:
    18 July - London, UK
  • 19 OCT 1967
    Conway Hall, London
    Holborn Singers
    N. Conran, conductor
  • 11 OCT 1967
    London, UK
    BBC Chorus
    Peter Gellhorn, conductor
  • 30 MAY 1967
    London, UK
    Quintetto Vocale
    Herbert Handt, conductor
  • 20 NOV 1966
    V&A, London
    Quintetto Vocale Handt
  • 14 FEB 1966
    Saltire Singers
  • 18 MAR 1965
    Commonwealth Institute, London
    ProArte Singers

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