Thomas Campion’s Never weather-beaten sail is a sprightly text that powerfully evokes the sailor’s plea for God’s calming presence upon the sea’s unrelenting rushing waves. At the opening of this work for unaccompanied mixed voices, the jaunty alto/tenor movement in thirds symbolises the curling waves of the undulating sea, the mellifluous soprano melody represents the boat’s sails, and the bass section’s never-changing ‘A’ provides the anchor. All four voices then come together in homophony, urging God to “come quickly...and take my soul to rest”. Rather than a simple repetition of thematic material in the manner of a standard hymn, the texture alters through the rest of the work until the very end where all voices gradually fade away into the distance, leaving what seems like a lone voice in the wilderness to cry “to Thee”.
Contrasting to other well-known setting of this text, this new work provides a fresh interpretation, suitable for intermediate choirs.