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Love Seeketh not Itself to Please

Instrumentation: 4-part unaccompanied female chorus (S.S.A.A. div.)

Duration: ca. 3'

Lyricist: William Blake

Language: English

Composition Date: 2012.11

Other Version(s): For 8-part unaccompanied mixed chorus (S.S.A.A.T.T.B.B.)

Remark: This piece is selected to be in the set piece list for choirs participating the category of "Modern and Contemporary Music" at festivals organised by Florence Choral (Italy). Besides, it is originally selected to present in the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) World Music Days (2014) held in Wrocław, Poland. Since the organiser could not arrange artists for the originally selected piece, A Retrospect is scheduled for presentation instead.

Sample Recording: BBC Orchestras and Choirs Playlist

Score Preview: PDF

Text in Original Language:

Love seeketh not Itself to please,

Nor for itself hath any care;

But for another gives its ease,

And builds a Heaven in Hell's despair.


Programme Notes:

Love Seeketh not Itself to Please is a choral piece composed for 8-part a cappella female chorus. It is based on the poem with same title from The Clod and the Pebble, written by William Blake. The piece is about the inner qualities of love and sincerity that give people real determination and passion for life. Optimistically, love is selfless such that a lover would do many things to please his/her lover without thinking of personal gains.


Musically, the piece is principally pantonal, so as to convey my insistence and belief in love, while the harmonic style is pandiatonic, in which dissonances resolve irregularly to depict love’s intricate and sophisticated colour. In general, these techniques are designed for tone painting in order to convey the colour of love in the poem.


In reality, love can be compassionate and altruistic, or, it can be selfish. Whether love can be authentic and ideal depends on whether you are willing to give forever.

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