The One and Only Book of Madrigals

The One and Only Book of Madrigals2017-03-14T19:29:31+00:00

Project Description

15 min.

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Arkansas State University Chamber Singers, Dale Miller, cond.
Live Recording, 22 April, 2013


Preview Score


  1. April Is In My Mistress’ Face
  2. The Silver Swan
  3. Spring Returns
  4. Arianna’s Lament (Let Me Die)
  5. Nay Let Me Weep
  6. Cease Now
  7. Up From Earth’s Center


2013 by the Arkansas State University Chamber Singers

Program Note

This set of seven madrigals was the product of a class in madrigal styles taught in 1970 by Prof. Paul Harden at Michigan State University. Harden had a thorough knowledge of the music of the 16th century, and was a meticulous and demanding teacher. We composed music in the various madrigal styles, from the openness and innocence of Marenzio, to the poignantly dramatic qualities of Monteverdi and the free-floating tonality and hyper-expressivity of Gesualdo. I found a real love for madrigals and responded with a real compositional effort of my own. “The One and Only Book of Madrigals” sat for over 40 years before receiving a first premiere performance in  2013 by the Arkansas State University Chamber Singers.

Program Note by David Maslanka


April is in my mistress’ face,
And July in her eyes hath place;
Within her bosom is September,
But in her heart a cold December.

The silver Swan, who, living, had no Note,
When Death approached, unlocked her silent throat.
Leaning her breast upon the reedy shore,
thus sang her first and last, and sang no more:
“Farewell, all joys! O Death, come close mine eyes!
More Geese than Swans now live, more Fools than Wise.”

Spring returns with balmy zephyrs softly breathed
April the young and gay with flowers wreathed
The waves are stilled, the clouds in show’rs decending
While nymphs and jocund shepherd’s songs are blending
Now feathered songsters among the groves are flying
from bough to bough with tuneful voice replying
With evening’s shades silence around is falling
Morning returns, the song of joy recalling.

Let me die, let me die, let me die
for who can give me comfort in such great misfortune
o, let me die, let me die, let me die
for who will give comfort in such great martyrdom
o, let me die, let me die, let me die

Nay, let me weep, tho’ others’ tears be spent,
Though all eyes dried be, let mine be wet,
Unto thy grave I’ll pay this yearly rent,
Thy lifeless corse demands of me this debt,
I owe more tears than ever corse did crave
I’ll pay more tears than e’er was paid to grave.

Cease now, no longer plague me
Deceitful thought and cruel
For I can never be what you desire
Dead is for me, all and never
May I hope to know
What gladness is.

Up from Earth’s Center through the Seventh Gate
I rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate.
And many a Knot unravel’d by the Road;
But not the Master-knot of Human Fate

Further Reading