A number of pieces for The Winter’s Tale
were ascribed to Boyce in nineteenth-century publications, but only two seem to be authentic. They were written for Florizel and Perdita
, Garrick’s 1756 reworking of the play, and survive in autograph score in the Bodleian Library. ‘Get you hence, for I must go’ is a cheerful gavotte-like setting of the ‘merry ballad’ sung by Autolycus, Mopsa and Dorcas in Act IV, Scene 4 of Shakespeare’s play. In the play Autolycus tells Mopsa that it ‘goes to the tune of ‘Two Maids Wooing a Man’’, but Boyce, like Robert Johnson in the early seventeenth century, gave it an original setting too complex to be mistaken for a ballad. Autolycus was no longer required to sing in Garrick’s time, and his part was taken by an unnamed shepherd. Shakespeare called for music to accompany the moment in Act V, Scene 3 of the play when Hermione’s statue comes to life, but no setting has survived from the seventeenth century, and Boyce’s simple but evocative two-section piece seems to be the only one from the eighteenth century.
from notes by Peter Holman © 1997