CHORUS unaccompanied

TWO PARTSONGS for male choir
The two partsongs, Stillness and Gods, were written at the request respectively of Pendyrus Male Choir and Ynysybwl Male Choir, with both of which groups I was involved in the 1970s; and, although published together, were not intended to form a unit. Both are scored for three-part choir, rather than the standard four parts, but take the opportunity to divide each section to produce six parts when required.

Stillness                                James Elroy Flecker


When the words rustle no more,

and the last work’s done,

when the bolt lies deep in the door,

and Fire, our Sun,

falls on the dark-laned shadows of the floor,


when from the clock’s last chime to the next chime

Silence beats his drum,

and Space with gaunt grey eyes and her brother, Time,

wheeling and whispering come,

she with the mould of form and he with the loom of rhyme:


then twittering out in the night my thought-birds flee,

I am emptied of all my dreams;

I only hear Earth turning, only hear

Lethe’s long bankless streams,

and only know that I would drown

if you laid not your hand on me.

Gods                                    Walt Whitman


Lover divine and perfect comrade,

waiting content, invisible yet, but certain,

be Thou my God.


Thou, the Ideal Man, able, fair, content and loving,

complete in body and dilate in spirit,

be Thou my God.


O Death (for Life has serv’d its turn),

opener and usher to the Heavenly mansion,

be Thou my God.


Aught of mightiest, best I see, conceive or know

(to break the stagnant tie, thee to free, O soul!),

be thou my God.


All great ideas, the races’ aspirations,

all heroisms, deeds of rapt enthusiasts,

be ye my Gods.


Or Time: or Space: or shape of Earth divine and wond’rous:

or some fair shape I, viewing, worship:

or lustr’ous orb of sun or moon by night:

be ye my Gods.
   These Two Meditations, like the Partsongs for male choir, were not originally conceived as a unit, and in fact were written some twelve years apart.  Dychweled, the later work, is a complex and elaborate work for a skilled six-part choir, while Sleep is a comparatively straightforward score. Both are unaccompanied.

Dychweled                                                                                                                                           T H Parry-Williams


Ni all terfysgoedd daear vyth gyffroi                                     The earthly tumult never can disturb                       

distawrwydd nef: ni sigla lleisiau’r llawr                                the high silent Heavens: the voices of the world

rymuster y tangnefydd sydd yn toi                                        can never break the mighty peace that spans

diddim diarcholl yr ehangder mawr.                                        the vast void of the immense Firmament.

Ac ni all holl drybestod dyn a byd                                         Nor all worldly commotions of mankind

darfu’r tawelwch nac amharudim                                            can break its stillness, nor impair at all

ar dreigl a thro’r pellterau sydd o hyd                                   the move and turn of distance that creates

yn gwneuthur gosteg â’u chwyrnellu chwim.                      a moving stillness, a calm over space.

Ac am nad ydwy’n hyw ar hyd y daith,                                And as our lifespan, all our journey through

o gri ein geni hyd ein holaf gwyn,                                         from childish crying to the sigh of death,

yn ddim ond crych dros dro neu gysgod craith                 is but a passing transitory scar

arlyfnder asmwyth y mudandod mwyn,                               upon the surface of that silent calm,

Ni wnaun, wrth ffol am byth o’n ffwdan ffôl,                      so, once all our bluster comes to an end,

ond llithro i’r llondwch mawr yn ôl.                                      we pass forth to that eternal peace.


Sleep                                                                                                   Samuel Daniel


Care-charmer Sleep, son of the sable Night,

brother to Death, in silent darkness born,

relieve my languish and restore the light

with dark forgetting of my care reborn.


And let the day be time enough to mourn

the shipwreck of my ill-adventured youth;

let waking eyes suffice to wail their scorn,

without the torment of the night’s untruth.


Cease, dreams, the images of day-desires,

to model forth the passions of the morrow!

Still let me sleep, embracing clouds in vain,

and never wake to feel the day’s disdain.




These folksong arrangements were all written with one combination of voices in mind: the traditional Welsh male choir of the South Wales valleys. They were designed for informal gatherings of singers, after concerts or in pubs, but were also a conscious attempt to wean such informal singsongs away from the churchy Methodist harmonies that so often tended to creep in to the improvised harmonisations. Some of the arrangements, notably that of Waly Waly, have become among the most performed of all my compositions, both in commercial recordings and in radio and television performances, mainly by Pendyrus Male Choir; but the informal performances continue to heavily outnumber the formal ones.


Waly waly


The water is wide, I cannot get o’er,

and neither have I wings to fly,

give me a boat that will carry two,

and both shall cross, my love and I.


I leant my back up against an oak,

thinking it was a mighty tree,

but first it bent and then it broke;

so did my love prove false to me.


O love is handsome and love is kind,

gay as a jewel when it is new;

but love grows old and waxes cold,

and fades away like morning dew.


The water is wide, I cannot get o’er,

and neither have I wings to fly,

give me a boat that will carry two,

and both shall cross, my love and I.


to listen to the first performance given by Ynysybwl Male Choir conducted by the composer:


Ca’ the yowes

words by Robert Burns


Ca’ the yowes tae the nowes,

ca’ them where the heather growes;

ca’ them where the burnie rowes,

my bonnie dearie.


Hark the mavis evenin’ sang,

sounden Clouden’s woods amang;

then a-foldin’ let us gang,

my bonnie dearie.


We’ll gang down by Clouden side,

through the hazels spreading wide,

o’er the waves that sweetly glide,

to the moon sae clearly.


Fair and lovely as thou art,

thou hast stol’n my very heart;

I can die but canna part,

my bonnie dearie.


She moved through the fair


My young love said to me: My mother won’t mind,

and my father won’t chide you for your lack of kind;

and she went away from me with one star awake,

as dawn in the evening moves over the lake.


She went away from me, and she moved through the fair,

and so softly I watched her move her and move there;

and she went away from me, and this she did say:

It will not be long, love, till our wedding day.



Last night I lay sleeping, my true love came in,

and so softly she moved that her feet made no din;

she laid her hand on me, and this she did say:

It will not be long, love, till our wedding day.


All my trials


Hush, li’l baby, don’t you cry;

you know yo’ daddy was born to die.

All my trials, Lord, soon be over.


There is a tree in Paradise,

the pilgrims call it the Tree of Life.

All my trials, Lord, soon be over.


Too late, my brothers!

Too late, but never mind:

All my trials, Lord, soon be over.


If religion were a thing that money could buy,

the rich would live and the poor would die.

All my trials, Lord, soon be over.


I had a little book was given to me,

and every page spelt Liberty.

All my trials, Lord, soon be over.


Too late, my brothers!

Too late, but never mind:

All my trials, Lord, soon be over.


The House of the Rising Sun


There is a house in New Orleans

they call the Rising Sun;

and it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy,

and God, I know, I’m one.


My mother was a tailor,

sewed my new blue jeans;

my father was a gambling man,

down in New Orleans.


Now the only thing a gambler needs

is a suitcase and a trunk;

and the only time that keeps him satisfied

is when he’s on the drunk.


There is a house in New Orleans

they call the Rising Sun;

and it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy,

and God, I know, I’m one.


Dafydd y Garreg Wen


Carwch, medd Dafydd, fy melyn i mi,                            Bring me, said David, the harp I adore;

ceisiaf cyn marw rhoi tôn arni i.                                     I long ere death calls me to play it once more.

Codwch fy nwylaw i gyraedd y tant                            Help me to reach my belov’d strings again.

Duw a’ch bendithio fy ngweddw a’m plant.               On women and children God’s blessing remain.


Neithiwr mi glywais lais angyl fel hyn,                        Last night I heard a kind angel thus say:

Dafydd, tyrd adref, a chwareu trwy’r glyn.                David, fly home on the wings of thy lay.

Telyn fy mebyd, ffarwel i dy dant                               Harp of my youth and thy music, adieu!

Duw a’ch bendithio fy ngweddw a’m plant.             Women and children, God’s blessing on you!




The Nativity Mass was not the first of my choral works, but it was the first to be performed and as such was designated as my Op 1.  The original version included an overture for recorder and piano, and these accompanying instruments appeared at intervals throughout the score. However when reviewing the work in the 1990s I decided that these instrumental sections were by far the weakest sections of the music and needed to be deleted (the optional trumpet in the final section alone remains). I also took the opportunity of recasting several of the sections in terms of rhythm and harmony, although the many original naїve harmonisations and word settings have, I trust, remained unimpaired. At the same time the transcription of Peter Cornelius’s Die Drei Könige, the only portion of the text not in Latin, was removed. The construction of the Latin text was undertaken by Barry Blackburn and Ian Crane.

The work is scored for unaccompanied voices and the solo parts are to be drawn from members of the chorus.


Kyrie eleison


Kyrie eleison.

Christe eleison.

Kyrie eleison.


Adeste fideles


Adeste fideles,

laeti, triumphantes,

venite, venite in Bethlehem:

natum videte

regem angelorum:

venite adoremus Dominum.


Hodie cantemus


Hodie cantemus,

Deum nos laudemus,

Christum proponemus



In stabulo humili

Christo canunt angeli:

Laus et gloria tibi,



Laus tibi, O Deo,

laus tibi, O Christo,

laus Spirito Sancto



Ave Maria


Ortus Domini Christi haec ratione erat:

Gabriel Angelus legatus de Deo

ad urbem Galilei, Nazareth,

ad virginem qui sposa erat

ad Josephum ex Davido:

et virgina erat Maria.

Et angelus venit ad eam et dixit:

―Ave, Maria! gratia plena:

Dominus tecum:

Benedicta tu in mulieribus.

Ecce, concipies, et paries filium:

Et vocabitur nomen eius Jesu:

Lumen ad revelationem Israel.

―Ecce, ecce ancillae Domini:

Domine mecum cum dixisti meam.

Et angelus exivit.


Veni Emmanuel


Veni, veni, Emmanuel,

captivum solve Israel,

qui gemit in exilio,

privatum Deo filio:

Gaude! gaude! Emmanuel

nascetur pro te, Israel.




Et dixit Maria:

―Magnificat anima mea Dominum,

et exultavit spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo,

quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae:

ecce, enim ex hoc beatam me dicant

omnes generationes.

Quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est:

et sanctam nomen eius.

Et misericordia eius a progenie in progenies

timentibus eium.

Fecit potentiam in brachio suo:

dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.

Deposuit potentes de sede:

et exaltavit humiles.

Esurientes implevit bonis:

et divites dimisit inanes.

Suscepit Israel puerum suum,

recordatus misericordiae suae,

sicut locutus est ad patres nostros,

Abraham et semini eius.

Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto!

Sicut erat in principio, et nunc,

et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.


Cum Maria mater


Cum Maria mater Jesui Josepho sponsetur

ante concipient, habet filium Spiritu Sanctis.

Quando Josephus pius putat eiam exitis faciat.

Sed quondam eis putat, ecce!

angelus Domini ei venit dormenti et dixit:

―O Joseph ex Davido! Ne timere capere

Maria femina: quia id concipiet

est de Spiritui Sancto. Et pariet filium:

et nomen fuerit Jesu.


Puer nobis


Puer nobis nascitur,

regem creatorarum!

Advenit mundum relictum,

Dominus genium.


Omega et Alpha est!

Organum tonneret!

Cum chorus, Dei gaudens,

Deum lauderet.


Corde natus


Corde natus ex parentis

ante mundi exordium.

Alpha et O cognominatus,

ipse fons et clausula.

Omnium quae sunt, fuerunt,

quaeque post futura sunt,

saeculorum saeculis.


Psallat altitude caeli,

psallite omnes angeli,

quidquid est virtutis usquam,

psallat in laudem Dei.

Nulla lunguarum silescat,

vox et omnes consonet,

saeculorum saeculis.


Et Josephus exivit


Et Josephus exivit de Galilaeo ad Bethlehem,

nam est de Davide,

cum Maria femina, tributum imponi.

Et sicut erat cum adfuit, nascetur in stabulo

filium suum Jesu.

Et errant in rure ipse pastores oves supervidentes.

Ecce! angelus Domini advenit,

et Gloria Domini eius luceat,

et errant timentes. Et eius dixit angelus:

―Noli timere: nam ecce! nuntio bona.

Nam filius nascetur in urbe Davidi,

Christus Dominus.

Et ecce! angeli cum angelo errant de caelis,

Dei laudis offerent et dicent:




―Gloria in excelsis Deo,

et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis.

Laudamus te, benedicimus te,

adoramus te, glorificamus te,

gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam.

Domine Deus, rex caelestis, Deus pater omnipotens.

Domine Fili unigenite, Jesu Christe.

Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,

miserere nobis.  Qui tollis peccata mundi,

suscipe deprecationem nostrum.

Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, miserere nobis.

Quoniam tu solus Sanctus, tu solus Dominus,

tu solus altissimus, Jesu Christe,

cum Sancto Spiritu in gloria Dei Patris. Amen.


Quem pastores


Quem pastores laudevere,

quibus angeli dixere,

absit vobis iam timere,

natus est rex gloriae.


Christe rege, Deo nato,

per Mariam nobis dato,

merito resonet vere,

laus, honor et Gloria.


Quem angeli


Quem angeli nunc exiverunt in caelos,

pastores dixeverunt unter eos:

―Eamus, videre hoc quid angelus nos dicunt.

Et venerunt, et viderunt, et Deo laudaverunt.


Deum de Deo


Deum de Deo,

lumen de lumine:

gestant puellae viscera:

Deum verum,

genitum non factum:

venite adoremus Dominum.


Cantet nunc Io,

chorus angelorum!

Cantet nunc Io caelestium:

―Gloria in excelsis Deo!

Venite adoremus Dominum.


Jesu natus


Jesu natus Bethlehem in Judaea, Herode rege,

venit tres reges de Parthis Jerusalem qui dicent:

―Ubi sit rex natus Judaeorum?

Nam vidistis stellam in oriente

e venistis ad eum laudare.

Et Herod rex convenit Sanhedrin,

Et rogavit eos ubi Christus natus sit. Et dixerent:

―Bethlehem Judaeorum:

beatam te, nam tibi rex Israel venit.

Et Herod nuntiabat magi Bethlehem

et advenerunt filium cum Maria matre

et eum laudaverunt. Et offerunt ei dona:

aurum, thus, myrrhumque.


Deo gratias


Deo gratias!

Gratias Christi,

Deo gratias!


Vere dignum


Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare,

tibi semper et ubique gratias agree:

Domine sanctus, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus!

Quia per incarnate verbi mysterium

nova mentis nostrae oculis

lux tuae claritatis infulsit:

ut dum visibilter Deum cognoscimus per hunc

in invisibilium orem rapiamur.

Et deio cum angelis et archangelis,

cum Thronis et Dominationibus,

cumque omnia militia caelestis exercitus

hymnum gloriae tuae cantimus,

sine fine dicentes:




Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus,

Dominus Deus Sabaoth!

Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua.

Hosanna in excelsis!

Benedictus qui venit in nominee Domini.

Hosanna in excelsis!