The Nightingale English Madrigal

The madrigal, a polyphonic musical composition usually sung a capella, was a type of secular Renaissance music that would have been familiar to writers such as Edmund Spenser. Madrigals usually feature the words of a poem set in an intricately harmonized melody.

Listen to the way the different parts intertwine in this recording of the English madrigal “The Nightingale” by Thomas Weelkes, sung by the Greater Richmond Children’s Choir.

“The Nightingale” by Thomas Weelkes

Madrigal music was popular in the Renaissance.Pro Arte Choir, directed by Hope Armstrong Erb, Greater Richmond Children’s Choir. Recorded at St Michael’s Episcopal Church, in Bon Air, VA, on April 6, 2003.

You may learn more about madrigals at the Oxford Bibliographies, and listen to a news story about singing this form of beautiful music in the video below.


The Greater Richmond Children’s Choir (GRCC) brings together boys and girls from diverse backgrounds who develop a love for singing and good music through age-appropriate vocal training. Based in Richmond, VA, the choir learns a challenging multicultural repertoire and performs both locally and abroad under the direction of Hope Armstrong Erb. Learn more at their website:

Many thanks to the GRCC’s Founding Artistic Director, Hope Armstrong Erb, for granting us permission to make this piece available. This music is presented here for educational purposes only, with the permission of the Greater Richmond Children’s Choir who retains all rights to this recording.

Other British Literature (E4) audio-visual resources