Ronald Corp

Conductor & Composer


Sleep

Listen to excerpts from the first six song sung by Mark Stone:

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Programme Notes

At various times I have collected Elizabethan poems into cycles, and Sleep by John Fletcher comes from a set of poems by this wonderful playwright.  I have long loved the settings of this text by Gurney and Warlock and hope that my song will not be submerged under their great shadow.  As a composer and choral conductor, I have always been inspired by poetic texts.  Songs were some of my very first compositions, and they continue to be a major part of my writings.

© Ronald Corp, 2010

This setting of John Fletcher’s poem fluctuates between troubled restlessness and moments of consolation as a result of shifting tonalities and the rather sumptuous, sensuous ‘cushioning’ offered by the piano part.  Despite the B-flat minor key signature, the lack of a secure tonal centre renders this one of the composer’s most chromatically adventurous solo songs – mirroring a yearning for happiness, however illusory or short-lived, that the poet expresses:

Come, Sleep, and with thy sweet deceiving
Lock me in delight awhile;
Let some pleasing dreams beguile
All my fancies; that from thence
I may feel an influence
All my powers of care bereaving!
Though but a shadow, but a sliding,
Let me know some little joy!
We that suffer long annoy
Are contented with a thought
Through an idle fancy wrought:
O let my joys have some abiding!

© David M. Hoyle, 2012

(You are welcome to copy and paste the programme notes – please credit the authors.)