2013 (appx 3 ‘)
setting of song and words by John Dowland
for double choir (16 parts)
MacMillan famously said ‘Events, dear boy’. Things happen and at times of crisis, the fortunate artist within us can say ‘Enough’, and it is time to inhabit only beauty.
In early 2013 I set about composing four pieces for unaccompanied choir that I dedicated to kind and special people all of whom demonstrated infinite humanity and grace. Each piece chooses texts of great significance. John Dowland’s ‘Come Heavy Sleep’ is a song I had reworked long ago, then realised by the leading mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly CBE when she was a student with me at the Royal College of Music. This new setting keeps Dowland’s text and melody intact, but finds a new hypnotic quality to the soundscape that weaves around it. It is dedicated to Sarah.
So the experience of composing these works was not only deeply cathartic, it was also a way of me creating beauty out of ugliness and challenge and saying things in music I would not wish to repeat in words. Maybe one day a musicologist will have a field day?
Perusal score available on request