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premiered in 2007
author of text

Bennett’s Serenades, a five-movement choral suite, was premiered in a broadcast by the BBC Singers conducted by Stephen Cleoobury in December 2007. Here Bennett sets poems by one of the great eccentrics of English letters, John Skelton (c.1460-1529), sometime ‘poet laureate of Oxford’ and tutor to the future Henry VIII, later Rector of Diss in Norfolk, satirist and lyricist. His ‘Skeltonics’—short three-stressed lines with persistent but irregular rhyming—make his poems particularly apt for lively setting (as Vaughan Williams proved in his Five Tudor Portraits to Skelton poems). Bennett’s Serenades are also mainly portraits of women whom Skelton praised or dispraised in verse. These are the odes by turns lyrical, abusive and playful, to Mistress Margaret Hussey, Mistress Margery Wentworth, the highly inconstant Mistress Anne and Mistress Isabel Pennell. The exception is ‘My Darling Dear’, a ballad of seduction which Bennett sets in such a haunting manner that Skelton’s satire is transmuted into something altogether more romantic.

from notes by Malcolm MacDonald © 2012


Bennett (RR): My dancing day & other choral works
SIGCD293Download only


No 1: Mistress Margaret  Merry Margaret
Track 7 on SIGCD293 [2'19] Download only
No 2: Mistress Margery  With marjoram gentle
Track 8 on SIGCD293 [1'55] Download only
No 3: Mistress Anne  Mistress Anne, I am your man
Track 9 on SIGCD293 [2'04] Download only
No 4: My darling dear  With lullay, lullay, like a child
Track 10 on SIGCD293 [5'02] Download only
No 5: Mistress Isabel  By Saint Mary, my lady
Track 11 on SIGCD293 [2'27] Download only

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