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The Ballad of the Canterbury Pilgrims : for soprano, tenor, baritone and piano

by Diana Blom (2015)

Work Overview

Geoffrey Chaucer's classic set of stories, The Canterbury Tales (mid-14th century), is rich with characters from a range of England's social classes, each making a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral to visit the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket. These portraits were ideal for setting to music for a trio of singers - Jamie Reimer (soprano), Kevin Hanrahan (tenor), Jeffrey Jones (baritone) - allowing solos, duets and trios. The piano supports each character's personality and plays with a descending eight bell peal of Canterbury Cathedral. Drawing on a ballad structure, the song focuses on five pilgrims - the knight, his squire, the nun, the cook and a good wife - plus a chorus which bookends the work, the texts all drawn from the Prologue to The Canterbury Tales. The language is a mixture of Middle English and Modern English, with words retained and inter-changed to rhyme or suit the music's rhythmic setting.

The work is dedicated to the three singers.

Work Details

Year: 2015

Instrumentation: Soprano, tenor, baritone, piano.

Dedication note: Dedicated to Jeffrey Jones, Kevin Hanrahan, Jamie Reimer

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