An eight-minute work for SATB chorus, In Time Of Plague (1984) is a setting of the poem by Thomas Nashe which broods on the inevitability of mortality. One of Burgess’s very few works for chorus, Burgess use the voices in a number of different combinations and achieves a variety of effects; there are no time signatures and the key modulates from D minor through to E by way of A minor and C minor.
Adieu, farewell, earth’s bliss This world uncertain is Fond are life’s lustful joys Death proves them all but toys None from his darts can fly I am sick, I must die. Lord, have mercy on us!
– the first strophe of In Time Of Plague by Thomas Nashe (1567-1601)
Click the image below for the score (opens in a new tab).