Flora Now Calleth Forth Each Flow'r

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Flora Now Calleth Forth Each Flow'r




This is the glee which - according to Smith himself - should have won the Prize Medal in 1782. We know this because his fellow-composer, R.J.S. Stevens, records with some surprise in his memoirs the fact that he won the medal that year, for "See, What Horrid Tempests Rise", and that this became the subject of a somewhat ungentlemanly spat when they met at a Catch Club evening; Smith accused Stevens of 'cheating' him of a Gold Medal. Stevens had the grace at the time, and afterwards in his Journal, to remark that, actually, Smith was right: "Flora" was the better piece, and should have won. Stevens kept the medal, however.

Part of the problem, for Smith, may have been the fact that the Club used boys, rather than women sopranos, to perform the glees in order to help reach a decision. This piece grows to a very effective - and quite taxing - climax, in a riotous 6/8 finale which the boys may not have executed very well. Along the way, there is a nice little musical conceit, as Smith sets the words "that now sleepeth in Lethe's lake" in 2/2 against the 6/8 dance rhythms pirouetting around it, to represent the stillness of the subject. The whole is one of the most impressive examples of the genre; we hope to add a recording to this website in July.



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