• Thea Musgrave
  • Hear the voice of the Bard (2013)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by King’s College, Cambridge, and first performed on Christmas Eve 2013 at A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols by the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, conducted by Stephen Cleobury

Commissioned by King’s College, Cambridge

  • TrATB chorus
  • 3 min 30 s

Programme Note

It was a great honour to be invited by Stephen Cleobury to write a carol for the famous Christmas Eve service with the wonderful King's College choir. At my request for what poem I might set to music Stephen sent a long list of suggestions and the poem "Hear the Voice of the Bard" by Blake jumped right off the page.

I was drawn to this poem because it reaches out for the larger beauty and mystery of our existence on earth independent of specific religious affiliation. Whether it be the natural rhythm of the seasons or the daily renewal of light, or the beauty and breadth of stars and sky, Blake finds our 'lapsed' human souls in need of the refreshment and constancy of nature's magical cycles -- and also of the artist's role in the musical "voice of the Bard."