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20 June 2022

Press release by Boosey & Hawkes

To a Skylark

Mixed Choir (SATB divisi) a cappella

Becky McGlade


  • Choral score
  • Short, rhythmical work set on Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem, To a Skylark
  • Part of the Contemporary Choral Series
  • Suitable for advanced choirs
  • Published by Boosey & Hawkes


This short, rhythmical work is inspired by an area of McGlade’s native Cornwall. The area, where a common meets the sea, is home to many skylarks who, it is thought, sing to ward off predators out to steal their young from nests hidden in the long grass.

Suitable for advanced choirs, To a Skylark is a setting of just a few verses of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s lengthy poem in which the composer portrays, through the quick, light, undulating melodies, this joyous bird flitting its wings and pouring forth its rapturous strains. The music is quite dissonant at times and the tonality purposefully a little unstable – trouble and danger may be close at hand, but the skylark’s song continues above it. In the final verse, the poet brings the focus on himself, longing perhaps that he could live life with the same carefree gladness of the skylark. This contemplative mood is captured in the slower, more expressive music of the closing section. The piece ends very softly; all is still as we listen attentively to the birdsong.