An Academy of Ancient Music


Medium voice and piano–ca. 20′

A cycle of six songs about music and antique musical instruments.

Click below to view individual songs from the cycle:


Buy from North Star Music
Buy from North Star Music


An Academy of Ancient Music

Songs about music and musical instruments for medium voice, piano.
Approx. 20′ duration
Texts: Herbert, Shakespeare, Cannon, Rückert, Updike, Bottomley

  1. Rise, Heart (George Herbert)
  2. When Thou, My Music, Music Play’st (Wm. Shakespeare)
  3. Viola d’amore (Moya Cannon)
  4. Du bist die Ruh (Friedrich Rückert)
  5. Vow (John Updike)
  6. Music Speaks (Gordon Bottomley)

Songs 1-4 and 6 available individually.

Program Note

An Academy of Ancient Music gathers six songs about music written at various times and for various occasions from 1999-2013. The setting is a gallery or ensemble of antiques featuring the lute, harpsichord, viola d’amore, but touching on such obscurities as the keirnines, guslas and crwth. Prized above all is the voice, that ageless instrument that rings in Rückert’s eternal vaulted dome.

The earliest song, “Du bist die Ruh,” was written to celebrate Bruce Carlson’s forty years as Director of The Schubert Club. Shakespeare’s Sonnet 128, “When Thou, My Music,” belongs on every harpsichord; it was commissioned in 2004 by Rebecca Lindholm. Four songs were written in 2013. Thanks to my Poetry Group for introducing me to the work of Moya Cannon. “Rise, Heart” is familiar in Vaughan Williams’s Mystical Songs setting. Updike’s “Vow” was introduced to me by Pete Parshall. It’s dedicated to Madge Briggs. The final song, “Music Speaks” honors Bill Briggs, Madge’s late husband and my high school choral director, a fine singer and friend who left us in 2013. It was first performed by Bill and Madge’s daughters Sarah and Beth, dear friends of long standing. For other settings of many of these poems, go to Liedernet Archive.


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