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Wonders: I. New Things & New Tidings

from Mothertongue by Nico Muhly

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An excerpt from Anne Wallens Lamentation For the Murthering of her husband Iohn Wallen a Turner in Cow-lane neere Smithfield; done by his owne wyfe, on satterday the 22 of Iune 1616 who was burnt in Smithfield the first of Iuly following.
To the tune of Fortune my foe.

Great God that sees al things that here are don
Keeping thy Court with thy celestiall Son,
Heere her complaint that hath so sore offended,
Forgive my fact before my life is ended.

An excerpt from The Travels of Sir John Mandeville (XXXIV)

For men say always, that new things and new tidings be pleasant to hear. Wherefore I will hold me still, without any more rehearsing of diversities or of marvels that be beyond, to that intent and end, that
whoso will go into those countries, he shall find enough to speak of, that I have not touched of in no wise.

An excerpt from Mans Amazement: It being a true Relation of one Thomas Cox, a Hackney-Coach-man, to whom the Devil appeared on friday night, it being the 31st. of October, first in the likeness of a Gentleman,
seeming to have a role of Paper or Parchment in his hand, afterwards in the likeness of a great Bear with glaring eyes, which so affrighted him, that it deprived him of all his Sences. To the tune of Di gby’s Fa rewel.

A poem by King James I of England And graunt the lyke when as the swimming sort Of all thy subjects skaled I list declare: As Triton monster with a manly port,
Who drownd the Troyan trumpetour most raire:
As Marmaids wyse, who wepis in wether faire:
And marvelous Monkis, I meane Monkis of the see.
Bot what of monsters, when Ilooke and staire
On wounderous heapes of subiectis seruing the?
As whailes so huge, and Sea eylis rare, that be
Myle longs, in crawling cruikis of sixtie pace;
And Daulphins, Seahorse, Selchs with oxin ee,
And Mersvvynis, Pertrikis als of fishes race.
In short, no fowle doth flie, nor beast doth go,
But thow hast fishes lyke to them and mo.

A complaint against Thomas Weelkes, composer and informator choristarum at Chichester, an Anonymous report to the Bishop, 1619 Dyvers tymes & very often come so disguised eyther from the Taverne or Ale house into the quire as is muche to be lamented, for in these humoures he will bothe curse & sweare most dreadfully, & so profane the service of God … and though he hath bene often tymes admonished
… to refrayne theis humors and reforme hym selfe, yett he daylye continuse the same, & is rather worse than better therein.

Other texts
Also set are the lines “These things seem wondrous, yet more wondrous I,” from Thule, the period of cosmography
An excerpt from an article on Cod in Morgunblaðið,
the alphabet and numbers in Icelandic.


from Mothertongue, released June 16, 2008
Helgi Hrafn Jónsson, vocals, trombones
Árni Heimir Ingólfsson, harpsichord
Nico Muhly, celeste, keyboards


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Nico Muhly New York

Nico Muhly is a composer of orchestral music, stage works and sacred music. His work for film includes scores for for The Reader and the BBC adaptation of Howards End. Recordings of his works have been released by Decca and Nonesuch, and he is part of the artist-run record label Bedroom Community, which released his first two albums, Speaks Volumes and Mothertongue. ... more

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