Sweet Was the Song the Virgin Sung - Gareth Leyshon

Duration: 2'30"
Ensemble: SATB soprano unaccompanied
Grading: Difficult
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In this gentle, polymodal setting of a 17th century English poem, I have tried to combine two musical traditions that I particularly love: British and French. Thus, throughout the piece I have used the Dorian and Aeolian modes prevalent in much British folk music and traditional carols, together with the octatonic scale (alternating tones and semitones) favoured by many French composers in the 20th and 21st centuries - notably Messiaen, for whom it was the second of his modes of limited transposition. There is also a nod to Schönberg - I have hidden a twelve-note row in the harmony of the refrain.