Thomas Morley – April is in my Mistress’ face

This is a short piece for four voices (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass), which creates, with a G-minor key signature, a quite dramatic and melancholic mood, nonetheless, some really short motives also create a feeling of hope. The change of dynamics is fluently. As well as in Morleys’ piece “Fyer, fyer” , the text can be well understood due to it being sung almost simultaneously throughout the whole piece.

It can be clearly divided into four parts, whereas every part has changes in the text and the melody. As already mentioned,  even though the piece provides a generally sad feeling, there are small sections, sometimes only just one chord, which seem to lighten up the mood a tiny bit.

All of the four parts include different melodies, which only have slight differences between one another. Morley often uses distance of a major third interval, when Soprano & Alto or Tenor & Bass sing together. In the first part (bars 1 to 9) the mood stays sad and melancholic throughout. The second part goes from bar 9 to 15 and creates a fuller sound towards the end. At the beginning of bar 13 (which is in the centre of the second part) all voices build a F-major chord, which gives the colour of sound a change. It finishes on a B-major chord (which is the relative to g-minor). The third part (bar 14 to 23) works, compared to the previous one, the other way round, colourwise.) It starts of more positively and slowly creates a dramatic character, which is taken over from part 4.

Part 4 ( bars 23 to 38) has a bit of a different structure; this is the only part where a motive from the melody is repeated (the last 6 ones; bars 32 to 38). Even though the story that is being told comes to its most dramatic climax, the melody suddenly changes to an unexpected G-major ending-chord.

Due to the dramatic, but also the diversion of the melody, I really enjoyed listening to this piece. It is rich in variety, but the parts are still similar enough to one another, that it doesn’t become uninteresting.I was especially positively surprised by the major endings in the last part.

A score, provided by Andrew Sims can be found under the following link :