Modern Madrigals Book 1

Genre: Choral

Mood: Comic

Forces: SATB

Length: 6 Minutes


Modern Madrigals Book One (2004) – Six humorous partsongs, SATB, 6’.

Sheet Music

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Mod Mads 1 sung by The Occasional Choir with Peter Westley.


Modern Madrigals Book One

Amyntas and his love
Amyntas told me of his love
And how fair Phyllis faithless proves

So I to treat with Phyllis hied
And she, fair temptress, made reply:

“Ah! Bollocks to Amyntas!
He never took me to The Ivy.
Bollocks to Amyntas!
He never bought me diamonds
Geoffrey has a BMW,
A Rolex Oyster
And a penthouse flat.”

The Barman
A woman goes into a bar
And asks for a double entendre*
So the barman gives her one.

Peter bought a three-bed semi it cost him four-one; he sold it a year later for five-two.
Carol and Andy spent seven-five on their barn conversion, they added a conservatory and sold it for nine-one.
John paid four-five-seven for his Chelsea flat; he’s just had it valued at half as much again.
Whereas I bought a home for my family - and we lived in it.

Dumb Animals
Who’s a lovely doggie?
Who’s a lovely doggie?
Isn’t he a lovely doggie?
Aren’t you a lovely doggie?

Don’t you love your Mummy?
Don’t you? Don’t you?
Who’s a lovely boy then?
Who’s a lovely doggie then?

Who’s a clever doggie?
Who’s a clever doggie?
Isn’t he a clever doggie?
Aren’t you a clever doggie?

Brighter than your Mummy?
Aren’t you? Aren’t you?
Brighter than your Mummy?
Though that isn’t saying much.

We wen’ aht last Friday an’ ‘ad a few larfs
I saw my mate Tracey, and she was like,
“There’s a new bar opened in West Street.
How cool is that? Are you coming there later?”
And I was like, “Yeah, right!”
That is SO not gonna happen.
It’s just same old same old, innit?

Why do we support this crew?
The manager’s a dozy prat,
We should be playing 4-4-2
With Cole out wide and Smith up front.

Now we’re dropping way too deep
One nil up and twenty minutes more
The effing referee’s gone to sleep
They’ve missed - oh no! - he’s bound to… aarrgghh!

* Pronounce 'double' the English way, not the French 'dooble'.

Programme notes

Modern Madrigals

The typical English madrigal might concern itself with the activities of a chap called Amyntas and a shepherdess called Phyllis. They tend their flocks, they kiss, she runs away, they are re-united.
Amyntas may be a sighing poet: his mistress has a dart that pierces him to the heart. He lays his heart at her feet, but she is cruel. He languishes, and is like to die.
In fact - as Molesworth would say - he is uterly wet and a weed. How on earth would these people get on, I wondered, if they were transported into the 21st century? The first madrigal in this group suggests a likely outcome.
The idea of updating the form for modern times took hold of me: if the madrigal is to have new life, it needs texts that reflect truly contemporary concerns. The following five madrigals reflect on various aspects of life in our century.
As we all know, the general listener in modern times has an attention span no longer than some thirty seconds, so to be thoroughly modern, the pieces are short: the set of six can be performed in about five minutes.
They are written in the modern vernacular: listeners should be warned that they contain scenes of a violent nature, and strong language from the start.

The six pieces are:
1: Amyntas and his Love
2: The Barman
3: Capitalism
4: Dumb Animals
5: Estuarial
6. Footie



First performance:
2004, The Occasional Choir, Peter Westley, Tonbridge, Kent.