Written as a wedding present for two of the composer’s friends, Come live with me sets Christopher Marlowe’s archetype of the late renaissance ‘Pastoral Style’, The Passionate Shepherd to His Love. As a nod to the great traditions of Elizabethan and Victorian partsong writing, this setting is predominantly homophonic. Taking an A-B-A-coda structure, the sweeping melody of the opening section (rising and falling like “craggy mountains”) is later reprieved in a more luscious harmonization, and continues to form the basis of the soprano and tenor duet during the coda. In the B section (“There will I make thee beds of roses”) the texture elaborates to more contrapuntal lines of dialogue between upper and lower voices, with the passion reaching a understated zenith in the soprano 1 and tenor 1 rhapsodic rising duet, under which the parts twine themselves around each other like “leave of myrtle”.
An imaginative setting, closely allied with the text, Come live with me is an exciting addition to the contemporary repertoire of choral music on the theme of love.