General Information

The brass band (London Symphony Orchestra brass section?) intros 'Summer is icummin in', then all join in. The intro uses the same tune as the in the procession. (see note 1) (Cinefantastique: "the 'burning' music, also used over the anointing scenes, prominently uses the Celtic harp"). (Should be Nordic lyre. - GC)

This is the oldest written text in the English language/musical composition. Variations abound. It has been re-edited to follow the shots rather than being musically continuous.

"The one thing that I did do mainly off my own bat, largely because of the old classical training thing, which Paul liked the idea of was the trick when Howie is immolated of combining the waltzing march tune from the Procession with Sumer-Is-A-Cumen-In, which to this day I'm still rather proud of as a contrapuntal feat! The modern English version of this ancient song was by Peter Shaffer..." - Gary Carpenter.

Also from Gary: The voices were pre-recorded and then re-recorded post production I think. The singers if I recall were largely the musicians, some odd ex-student colleagues of mine. A hotchpotch really but 'proper' singers wouldn't have been true to the spirit, obviously!

Louis Austin, recording engineer adds for the re-recording: "I have a memory of a proper orchestra for that song, we did it in Studio 1 the big film studio at CTS" (formerly named DeLane Lea,)

Lyrics

 The original text is in this form: A/B/C/D. The film's version, the same in all versions but not on the two soundtrack releases, follows a different form: A/B/A/B/B/B with the text being modified. 

 Summer is icumen in, Loudly sing Cuckoo, Grows the seed and blows the mead, And springs the wood anew. Sing Cuckoo! 


Ewe bleats harshly after lamb, Cows after calves make moo, Bullock stamps and deer champs, Now shrilly sing Cuckoo ... (Howie begins singing #34 here) ... Cuckoo ... Cuckoo. O wild bird are you ! Be never still Cuckoo ! 


Summer is icumen in, Loudly sing Cuckoo, Grows the seed and blows the mead, And springs the wood anew. Sing Cuckoo!


(Hard to hear the next verse, it is an edited  jumble as best I can tell) Ewe bleats harshly after lamb, Cows after calves make moo, Bullock stamps and deer champs, Now shrilly sing Cuckoo, ... ... Cuckoo ... Cuckoo. Wild bird are you ! Be never still Cuckoo !


Loudly sing Cuckoo (end part only of this line), Grows the seed and blows the mead, And springs the wood anew. Sing Cuckoo!


Ewe bleats harshly after lamb, Cows after calves make moo, Bullock stamps and deer champs, Now shrilly sing Cuckoo ... ... Cuckoo ... Cuckoo. Wild bird are you ! Be never still Cuckoo !  

Based on the traditional tune. Words adapted by Peter Shaffer. Music adapted by Paul Giovanni.

Versions

Director's Cut

3:05

Theatrical version

3:05

Final Cut

3:05

Silva Screen

Appears to be in the form of A/B/C?D?/A

1:44 (part of a medley)

Also includes some cow sfx and Howie screaming Oh, Lord, Oh Jesus Christ at the end of it.

Trunk Records

Appears to be in this form A/B/C/A/A/C/D/A/B/C

1:31

It does not have Howie in there at all.

A short video clip of Stuart Hopps teaching some fans gathered for a 40th Anniversary/Final Cut on BluRay celebration held 10/31/13 the dance movements seen during this sequence. Thanks to David Tombesi-Walton.

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