Prelude XXII / The Two April Mornings

by

William Copper

 

Chorus SATB a cappella

 

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The Prelude XXII is a transposition and arrangement of a prelude from Bach's Well-tempered Clavier, set to a poem by William Wordsworth, and combined with syllabic and vocalise text heightening. From the composer's apology, printed on the score, "There may be giggles in the chorus during the preparation of this work... however the arrangement is intended in all seriousness and the work with its meaningless syllables does express a sense of the tangled inarticulate struggle it is to give meaning to anything in music, in poetry, in any art, in life".

Wordworth's beautiful short poem, "The Two April Mornings", begins
We walked along, while bright and red
Uprose the morning sun;
And Matthew stopp'd; he look'd; and said
'The will of God be done'
.

The chorus is requested to read the first several verses aloud; the entire poem is printed in the score for clarity and use in programs. (It is public domain text from around 1825). The tale is of a father recollecting his sorrow at a moment when he recollected his anguish when he revisited the churchyard holding his daughter's grave, in the course of "suing the sport which that sweet season gave". Really a rich, beautiful, tragic poem. The prelude by Bach, of course, originally in Bb minor, from Book I of the Well-Tempered Clavier, is one of the best of the best. The flow of the poem's drama and the music's drama match in an eerie manner as they are arranged here.

Combining these two masterpieces, and adding non-text vocal syllables in the style of Villa-Lobos, is a bold endeavour. Comments welcome as to the success of this.

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William Copper bio

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