The origin of Corydon and Miranda
is shrouded in mystery. It is known that it was incorporated into Mrs Clive’s play The Rehearsal
, produced at Drury Lane in 1750, but a comparison between the text of Clive’s play and Boyce’s autograph score in the Bodleian Library shows that the version performed then was not the original one and that the work was written for some earlier occasion, probably as a short independent work. The story is a simple love triangle between the shepherd, Corydon, and two shepherdesses, the faithful Miranda and the faithless Marcella. Despite the work’s title, Marcella is really the most important character with two superb airs, the first a sensuous minuet, the second a remarkable revenge number with a contrasted middle section and most advanced orchestral writing. The moral is drawn at the end in a short chorus. The work has no overture, so we have borrowed one suitable in size, key, mood and scoring from one of Boyce’s court odes.
from notes by Peter Holman © 1997