• John McCabe
  • Woefully arrayed (2009)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)
  • 10 min
  • Anon. (?14th century), adapted by the composer

Programme Note

Composer's Note

Woefully arrayed is a supreme choral setting by William Cornysh, Junior, who died in 1523, of a text usually regarded as of anonymous composition, though there have been some attributions to John Skelton. It is a thoughtful, powerful meditation on Christ on the Cross, and though Cornysh's setting has remarkable intensity and contrapuntal artistry, I felt a strong wish to add my own response to this fine text. The different versions of it have different verses - that used by Cornysh has three verses (plus the refrain), while there are others with four or even five (one attributted to Skelton has five). I have chosen to restrict myself to the three used by Cornysh, using my own adaptation of the modernised words which yet incorporates some archaisms - a deliberate choice for reasons of rhythm and verbal sound.


Woefully arrayed



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