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The Seven Mediaeval Lyrics were commissioned by the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council of New Zealand for performance at the Cambridge Summer Music School, Auckland, in 1974, and were written in Dunedin while the composer was holder of the Mozart Fellowship at the University of Otago. The work is scored for mixed choir and orchestra; the first and final songs are for the full choir; the second and sixth for tenors and basses; the three central songs are for sopranos and altos. The musical style adopted by the composer is a deliberate escape to the simplicity of mediaeval times. There is no attempt at musicological authenticity, just a fulfilling of the need for pleasant melodic music with no problems in performance.
— from the liner notes of Music by Edwin Carr, Volume 2 (Kiwi Pacific SLD-70)
Commissioned by the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council of New Zealand
I. Canso — 'Softly sighs the April air' (Arnaut Daniel, 1180–1210)
II. The Unicorn (Philippe de Thaon, 1121–35)
III. Moon (Anon.)
IV. Cantiga de Amigo — 'On the greening grasses' (Pero Meogo, fl. 1250)
V. Poor Me — 'Why does my husband beat me?' (Anon., 12th Century)
VI. Games in May — 'I give you horses' (Folgore da san Geminiano, 1270–1330)
VII. Spring Rondeau — 'We'll to the woods and gather may' (Charles d'Orléans)
Arnaut Daniel, Philippe de Thaon, Anon., Pero Meogo, Folgore da san Geminiano, Charles d'Orléans
Performed by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Edwin Carr