• Composition: 1960. Orchestral version dates from 1971.
• First Performances:
Original version: Tuesday, 21 June 1960. Shrubland Park Hall, Claydon, Ipswich. Sir Peter Pears tenor, Julian Bream guitar.
Orchestral version: 21 June 1971. Mansion House, London. Robert Tear tenor, London Mozart Players, Harry Blech conductor
• Duration: About 10 minutes
• Text: Anonymous, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Selected by Christopher Hassall from The English Galaxy of Shorter Poems (edited by Gerald Bullett).
1. Fain would I change that note [Lento amabile]
2. O stay, sweet love [Allegretto]
3. Lady, when I behold the roses [Lento sostenuto]
4. My love in her attire [Allegro leggiero]
5. I gave her cakes and I gave her ale [Andantino]
6. To couple is a custom [Allegro giocoso]
• Craggs Catalogue Number: C71
• Performing Forces: Tenor solo - Guitar solo
• Performing Forces of Orchestral Version: Tenor solo - Percussion (tabor, tambo di basso, cassa chiara, block) – harp – strings
• Manuscript: Private collection of Mrs. Lilias Sheepshanks. Manuscript of original version. Frederick R. Koch Collection. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Manuscript FRKF 633. Autograph manuscript full score of the orchestral version. 23 pages.
Oxford University Press. Vocal score, 1960, 019 3458616. Guitar part edited by Julian Bream.
Oxford University Press. Study score, 1971. Score and parts of the orchestral version are available on hire only.
• Arrangements: Arranged for voice and piano, by Christopher Palmer, 1990. Publication: Oxford University Press. Included in William Walton: A Song Album, 1991, 019 3437597. [Purchase online from SheetMusicPlus.com: A Song Album]
|Solo Voice||Orchestra or Guitar||Conductor||Year||Compact Disc||Timing|
|Martyn Hill||City of London Sinfonia||Richard Hickox||1989||Chandos CHAN 8824||11’25”|
|Yvonne Kenny||Malcolm Martineau piano [arr. Palmer]||n/a||1992||Etcetera KTC 1140||10’31”|
|John Mark Ainsley||Carlos Bonell||n/a||1993||Chandos CHAN 9292||10’55”|
|Martyn Hill||Craig Ogden||n/a||1996/7||Collins 14932
1. Fain would I change that note
Fain would I change that note
To which fond love hath charmed me.
Long, long to sing by rote,
Fancying that that harmed me.
Yet when this though doth come,
Love is the perfect sum
Of all delight.
I have no other choice
Either for pen or voice
To sing of write.
O love, they wrong thee much
That say thy sweet is bitter,
When thy riper fruit is such
As nothing can be sweeter.
Fair house of joy and bliss,
Where truest pleasure is,
I do adore thee.
I know thee what thou art,
I serve thee with my heart
And fall before thee.
2. O stay, sweet love
O stay, sweet love, see her the place of sporting;
These gentle flowers smile sweetly to invite us,
And chirping birds are hitherward resorting.
Warbling sweet notes only to delight us;
Then stay dear love, for, tho’ thou run from me,
Run ne’er so fast, yet I will follow thee.
I thought, my love, that I should overtake you;
Sweet heart, sit down under the shadow’d tree.
And I will promise never to forsake you,
So you will grant to me a lover’s fee,
Whereat she smiled, and kindly to me said —
‘I never meant to live and die a maid’.
3. Lady, when I behold the roses
Lady, when I behold the roses, sprouting
Which clad in damask mantles deck the arbours,
And then behold your lips where sweet love harbours,
My eyes present me with a double doubting:
For viewing both alike, hardly my mind supposes
Whether the roses be your lips, or your lips the roses.
4. My Love in her attire
My Love in her attire doth shew her wit,
It doth so well become her:
For every season she hath dressings fit,
For Winter, Spring and Summer.
No beautry she doth miss
When all her robes are on;
But beauty’s self she is
When all her robes are gone.
5. I gave her Cakes
I gave her Cakes and I gave her Ale,
I gave her Sack and Sherry;
I kist her once and I kist her twice,
And w e were wondrous merry.
I gave her Beads and Bracelets fine,
I gave her Gold down derry;
I thought she was afear’d till she stroaked my beard,
And we were wondrous merry. Merry my hearts, merry my Cocks,
Merry my Sprights, my hey down derry
I kist her once and I kist her twice,
And we were wondrous merry.
6. To couple is a custom
To couple is a custom:
All things thereto agree.
Why should not I then love
Since love to all is free?
But I’ll have one that’s pretty,
Her cheeks of scarlet dye,
For to breed my delight
When that I lig her by.
Tho’ virtue be a dowry,
Yet I’ll chuse money store:
If my love prove un-true
With that I can get more.
The fair is oft un-constant,
The black is often proud,
I’ll chuse a lovely brown:
Come, fiddler, scrape thy crowd.
Come, fiddler, scrape thy crowd,
For Peggy thy brown is she
Must be my bride, God guide
That Peggy and I agree.