Bring us Good Ale (2006)

Duration: 5 minutes

1) SATB 8-part chorus
2) SATB 8-part chorus, brass quintet (2 tpts, hn, tbn, tba)

2) first performed by Selwyn College Choir and Onyx Brass, cond. Nicholas Cleobury, 21 March 2007, St Bride's, London

Winner of 2007 John Armitage Memorial Prize

A cappella version
(Ishirini/Jeremy Rouse)

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Choir and brass version
(Selwyn College Choir/Onyx Brass/Nicholas Cleobury)
View score (brass quintet version)

Programme Note

Bring us Good Ale exists in two versions. The a cappella version, first performed in 2012 by Ishirini in concerts in Cambridge, Rzeszow (Poland) and Stanford-in-the-Vale, is for 4-part choir and is the shorter and simpler of the two. The original version is for 8-part choir and brass quintet and is the more complex, unfolding as a succession of ever more elaborate textures that incorporate glissandi, hocketing, irregular metres, metric modulations and a cadenza where soloists may insert texts of their own making. This version was chosen for the 2007 John Armitage Memorial concerts and was first performed by Selwyn College Choir, Onyx Brass conducted by Nicholas Cleobury, in St Bride's Church in London.

The text is from a medieval drinking song in which the singers demand to be brought good ale, turning down conciliatory offers of bread, beef, bacon, mutton, tripe, eggs, butter, pork, black pudding, venison, capon and duck for one reason or another.

Copyright Alan Charlton 2000 all rights reserved
Last revised 9 October 2009