Morrison Songbook
November 7, 2010

Morrison Songbook Premiere

My First Book of Madrigals was written for the Hilliard Ensemble between 1998 and 2002. One of the disadvantages of writing such a work is that it is tied to a very specific configuration of voices. When I did an evening on Words and Music in Leeds with Blake Morrison, author of the poems which I set for the madrigals, I made an arrangement of one of these pieces – Just as the ash glow – for tenor (John Potter) and piano, and this gave a new life to the piece. I decided to see which of the madrigals cold work outside the Hilliard context and it seems to me that seven of the thirteen pieces are suitable for solo voice, and so I have made new versions of these songs for my ensemble to perform with John Potter at my only UK concert this year – at Kings Place, London, on November 6.

Blake is a good friend and one of my most valued collaborators. We made the concert piece Doctor Ox’s Experiment (Epilogue) in 1988 as a pilot work for the opera Doctor Ox’s Experiment and he provided the libretto for the opera itself (first performance 1998) as well as writing the libretto for G (Mainz 2002)

This is the full programme:

Laude Dolçe no. 1  (2007) for solo cello, electric guitar, double bass

Lauda 29 “O divina virgo flore” (2003) tenor, double bass

Lauda 4 “Oi me lasso” (2002) tenor, ensemble

Lauda 32 “Omne homo” (2005) tenor, ensemble

Lauda 39 “Magdalena degna da laudare” (2009) – tenor, ensemble

Three solos from Irish Madrigals (2004-2007) Petrarch, trans JM Synge

“He wishes he might die and follow Laura”

“The sight of Laura’s house reminds him of the great happiness he has lost”

“He sends his rhymes to the tomb of Laura to pray her to call him to her”

Lauda Dolçe no. 2 (2007) for solo viola, electric guitar, double bass

– interval –

Morrison Songbook (2010) Blake Morrison Premiere



“All the homely arts and crafts”

“Almond Tree”

“In April”

“The print of soles”

“Just As The Ash-Glow”

Lauda: The Flower of Friendship (2009) electric guitar, viola, cello and bass


John Potter (tenor); Morgan Goff (viola), Nick Cooper (cello); James Woodrow (electric guitar); Gavin Bryars (double bass)





Gavin Bryars