Lovelife Dances

"Musically there is only this to say: this is beautiful music" "I'm in love with the work" "What a wonderful, uniquely charming dance piece!"

Review Copy, More Comments -- see bottom of page

Chorus SATB   Piano, 4 Hands


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Lovelife Dances is a song cycle with English texts from Chaucer to James Merrill: love and life and love life in dance rhythms. The total music duration is about 25 minutes. All songs are SATB except as indicated. Vocal parts are singable by amateurs but rewarding for professional singers, in a moderate range with occasional part division. The accompaniment for piano duo at one piano, (4-hand piano) is of medium difficulty.

The author's notes about Lovelife Dances, "Myn Entente nis but for to Playe", give some background about texts, dramatic shape, and musical structures.

Also see New Lovelife Dances, another set of 14 songs about love and lovers and life.

Various songs from Lovelife Dances and New Lovelife Dances are published separately, please see the edition list below.

 
William Copper's "Lovelife Dances" is an amazing suite of fourteen choral
movements that illuminate the essence of life and love. The words of
Chaucer, Donne, Shelley, Wordsworth, and more are sensitively set to music
that is as varied and beautiful as "celestial light, the glory and the
freshness of a dream" (from the final movement).

As a listener, I find the uniqueness of each dance striking. One after the
other moves by as if the composer's intention was to shower his audience
with a profusion of styles. Yet there is a cohesiveness to the work as a
whole, each piece a unique pearl on a string.

As a choral conductor, I'm impressed with the composer's ability to present
subtle, remarkable choral voicings within a framework of accessibility that
makes this composition well within the reach of the amateur choral group 
that is willing to work. 

A work of singular grace, I heartily recommend "Lovelife Dances" to you.
You will find learning it almost as rewarding as sharing it with your 
audience.

Gregg Sewell, Senior Music Editor
The Lorenz Corporation

Range of Lovelife Dances  
The texts are given as used in Lovelife Dances. Often the original poems are somewhat different.
#1 "Squier, Come Neer" Geoffrey Chaucer (Squire's Tale, Wife of Bath's Tale)Score Sample (pdf)   
 
      Prologue of the Squire's Tale
   Squier, come neer, if it youre wille be, 
       And say somwhat of love. 
Score Sample (jpg)
     Wife of Bath's Tale
   Gladly sith it may you like, 
       But that I praye to all this compaigne 
       If that I speke after my fantasye, 
   As take it nat agrief of that I saye,
       For myn entente nis but for to playe. 

   Squier, come neer, if it youre wille be,
       And say somwhat of love.

Recording (mp3 format)
#2 Mistress Anne John Skelton Score Sample (pdf)
    Mistress Anne,  I am your man,  
       As you may well espy.   
    If you will be content with me, 
       I am your man. 
    Mistress Anne,  I am your man,              
       As you may well espy.                    

    If you will keep company still 
       With every knave that comes by, 
    Then you will be forsaken of me,
       That am your man:  
    Mistress Anne,  I am your man.              
    If you fain, I tell you plain,
       If I presently shall die, 
    I will not such as loves too much,  
       That am your man. 

    For if you can love every man 
       That can flatter and lie,
    Then are ye no match for me,
       That am your man: 
    Mistress Anne,  I am your man.              

    If you will, I am your man,
       Mistress Anne, Mistress Anne, your man.

Recording
#3 Ring Out Your Bells Sir Philip Sidney Score Sample (pdf)
    Ring out your bells, let mourning shows be spread;
       For Love is dead.   
    All Love is dead, infected 
       With plague of deep disdain:
    Worth, as nought worth, rejected, 
       And Faith fair scorn doth gain.

    Weep, neighbors, weep!  do you not hear it said
       That Love is dead? 
    His death is peacock's folly;
       His winding-sheet is shame;
    His will, false-seeming holy;
       His sole executor blame. 

    Ring out, ring out, ring out your bells.

    Let dirge be sung and trentals rightly read,    
       For Love is dead. 
    Sir Wrong his tomb ordaineth   
       My mistress' marble heart 
    Which epitaph containeth: 
       "Her eyes were once my dart." 

Recording
#4 Hate Whom Ye List (for I care not) Sir Thomas Wyatt Score Sample (pdf)
    Hate whom ye list for I care not.  
    Love whom ye list and spare not.
    Wherefore I say, do what ye list and dread not, 
    Love, love whom ye list for I care not, 

    Think what you will I fear not. 

    Whether ye hate or ye hate not,
    For in your love I dote not: 
        Wherefore I pray,
    Wherefore I pray ye forget not, 
    Love, love whom ye list; for I care not.

Recording
#5 Who Is It That This Dark Night Sir Philip Sidney Score Sample (pdf)
    Who is it that this dark night
      Underneath my window plaineth? 

              It is one who from thy sight
                Being, ah, exiled, 
              Disdaineth every other light. 

    Why alas, and are you he?
      Be not yet these fancies changed? 

              Dear, when you find change in me,
                Though from me you be estranged
              Let my change to ruin be.  

    Peace, peace, I think some grow near ...
              Bliss, bliss, I will my bliss forbear. 
    Come no more. 
Recording
#6 "I Live in Love" George Gascoigne (The Passion of a Lover) Score Sample (pdf)
    I live in love, even so I love to live 
      (Oh happy state, twice happy when we find it);
    But love to life this cognizance doth give,
      This badge, this mark; to every one that minds it,
         Love lendeth life. 

Recording
#7 My Lute Awake Sir Thomas Wyatt Score Sample (pdf)
    My lute awake!  perform the last
    Labor that thou and I shall waste,
       And end that I have now begun:
    For when this song is sung and past, 
       My lute be still, for I have done. 

    As to be heard where ear is none,
    As lead to grave in marble stone, 
       My song may pierce her heart as soon.
    Should we then sigh, or sing, or moan?
       No, no, my lute, for I have done. 

    Now cease, my lute: this is the last
    Labor that thou and I shall waste
       And ended is that we begun. 

Recording
#8 Flow Forth, Abundant Tears William Barley Score Sample (pdf)
    Flow forth, abundant tears, 
    Bedew this doleful face,
    Flow forth. 

    Flow forth, abundant tears, 
    Bedew this doleful face,
    Flow forth. 

    Ah! Death exceedeth far
    This life which I endure,
    Ah death. 

    Flow forth, abundant tears, 
    Bedew this doleful face,
    Flow forth. 

    I love whom I should hate, 
    She flies, I follow fast:
    I love. 

    Ah! Death exceedeth far
    This life which I endure,
    Ah death. 

    Flow forth, abundant tears, 
    Bedew this doleful face,
    Flow forth. 

    Flow forth, abundant tears, 
    Bedew this doleful face,
    Flow forth. 

Recording
#9 O Swallow, Swallow (SSA) Alfred, Lord Tennyson Score Sample (pdf)
Score Sample (jpg)
    O Swallow, Swallow, flying, flying South, 
    Fly to her, and fall upon her gilded eaves,
    And tell her, tell her, what I tell to thee. 

    O tell her, Swallow, thou that knowest each,
    That bright and fierce and fickle is the South,
    And dark and true and tender is the North. 

    O were I thou that she might take me in,
    And lay me on her bosom, and her heart 
    Would rock the snowy cradle till I died.  

    O, Swallow flying from the golden woods,   
    Fly to her, and pipe and woo her and make her mine,
    And tell her, tell her, that I follow thee.
Recording (mp3 format)
#10 "Stay Yet Awhile" (TTBB) Percy Bysshe Shelley (from Adonais) Score Sample (pdf)
    Stay yet awhile, speak to me once again,
    Kiss me so long but as a kiss may last.

    Stay, speak to me once again,
    Speak once again, and in my heartless breast 
    And burning brain that word, that kiss shall 
    All thoughts else survive.
 
    With food of saddest memory kept alive,
       Now thou art dead 
    As if were a part of thee, Adonais.  

    I would give all I am to be as now thou art.
#11 The Sleeping Beauty Samuel Rogers Score Sample (pdf)
    Sleep on, and dream of Heaven awhile --
    Tho' shut so close thy laughing eyes.

    Ah now soft blushes tinge her cheeks 
    And mantle o'er her neck of snow:
    Ah now she murmurs, now she speaks
    What most I wish to know! 
    
    She starts, she trembles, and she weeps.
    Her fair hands folded on her breast.
    And now, how like a saint she sleeps, 
    A seraph in the realms of rest.

    Sleep on and dream of heaven awhile, 
    Sleep on and dream, sleep, sleep.

    Sleep on secure, above controul 
    Thy thoughts belong to Heaven and thee:
    Sleep secure, the secret of thy soul
    Remain within thy sanctuary, 
    May the secret stay within thy soul.
Recording (mp3 format)
#12 "Did" James Merrill (from the Book of Ephraim) Score Sample (pdf)
    Did, and a voice not his, less near, deeper than his,
    Now limpid, now unclear, said where he was
    Was room for me as well. 
    Whose, for that matter was the hand I held?
    It had grown cool, impersonal.  It led.

      From THE CHANGING LIGHT AT SANDOVER by James Merrill, copyright 1980, 1982
      Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
#13 "You Lovers" John Donne (from a Nocturnal upon St Lucy's Day) Score Sample (pdf)
You lovers, for whose sake, the lesser Sunne
At this time to the Goat is runne
  To fetch new lust, and give it you,
    Enjoy your summer all. 

Study me then, you who shall lovers bee
At the next world -- that is, at the next Spring --
  For I am every dead thing,
    In whom love wrought new alchemy. 

Oft a flood have we two wept, and so
   Drowned the whole world.

Oft a flood have we two wept, and so
   Drowned the whole world, -- us two -- 
      Oft drowned the whole world
Wept, world, drowned, us two, 
    world, drowned, us two, oft.

Recording (mp3 format)
#14 "There Was a Time" William Wordsworth (from Ode on Intimations of Immortality) Score Sample (pdf)
There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream 
The earth, and every common sight 
         To me did seem 
    Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream. 
It is not now as it has been of yore; --
    Turn wheresoe'er I may, 
        By night or day.
The things which I have seen I now can see no more!

        The rainbow comes and goes, 
        Lovely is the rose;
        The moon doth with delight 
Look round her when the heavens are bare;
        Waters on a starry night
        Are beautiful and fair;
    The sunshine is a glorious birth; 
    But yet I know, where e'er I go,
That there hath pass'd away a glory from the earth.  

And O, ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves,
Forbode not any severing of our loves!
Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;
I only have relinquish'd one delight
To live beneath your more habitual sway. 

Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears. 

Score samples, recordings copyright 2001 William P. Copper

Editions Available

William Copper bio

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