Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Sunday 26 September |
Saint of the Day: Sts Cosmas and Damian
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

Voces8 make 200-year-old music sound so fresh

J-P Mauro - published on 07/26/17

They have yet to make a recording we have not loved

Voces8 continues to impress with this wonderful 200-year-old chant. The group always sounds like more than 8 voices. One way they accomplish this is with an unbalanced mix of the voices, only two women and six men. This music was generally written for two of each voice part (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) and even with men on the alto part, the timbre and richness of the sound changes.

Voces8 performed this song in their first concert, which took place during the London bombings of 2005. They have kept the piece in their set lists ever since as a memorial to this national tragedy.

“Lay a Garland” was written by Robert Lucas de Pearsall, who was primarily self taught as a composer. He took the text from a play called The Maid’s Tragedy and is sung by the character Aspasia who was made to watch her true love marry another. They lyrics are quite sad:

Lay a garland on my hearse
of the dismal yew.
Maidens, willow branches wear,
say I died true.
My love was false, but I was firm
from my hour of birth.
Upon my buried body lie
lightly, gentle earth.

“Lay a Garland” is a madrigal, from the Regency era. Madrigals were some of the first secular compositions of western music. They can sound much like sacred music of the time, but the texts are pulled from plays or literature and often contain themes of romanticism and comedy.

Follow Cecilia–Aleteia’s music page–on Facebook!

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
J-P Mauro
Chicago architect models Vatican City from 67,000 LEGO bricks
Cecilia Pigg
7 Ways the saints can help you sleep better at night
Philip Kosloski
Why J.R.R. Tolkien loved to attend daily Mass
The Sinai Peninsula and the Dead Sea Rift
J-P Mauro
Experts now believe Sodom was destroyed by a meteor
Bret Thoman, OFS
Exclusive photos: Meet Padre Pio and the place he lived
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady saved Padre Pio from a violent demonic attack
Cerith Gardiner
9 Padre Pio quotes for when you’re feeling scared or uncertain
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.