The Three Ravens (2017)
An arrangement of the Traditional English Folksong
Vocal Ensemble, SSA (an SSA choral version exists as well)
fp . 23 March 2017; Juice Vocal Ensemble, King’s College Chapel, Aberdeen, UK
The Three Ravens is a an arrangement of the melancholy English folksong first published in the book Melismata, compiled by Thomas Ravenscroft in 1611. The folksong has always appealed to me with its enigmatic, and possibly allegorical, description of the ravens witnessing a lover burying her fallen knight. I first heard the song in a free ‘recomposition’ by John Harle for the Simon Schama History of Britain in 2000 and it has stuck with me since. My arrangement slowly builds the musical texture, moving the melody between the different voices until a restrained, reflective homophonic ending.