2013 (appx 4’)
setting of words by Friedrich Rückert
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. Mahler’s setting of ‘Ich bin der Welt’ is surely one of the most sublime pieces of music ever created by any composer. Yet I had known it corrupted. In order to dispel that memory I set Ruckert’s telling words in a wholly different way. I dedicated this work to a Dean of Chapel, Dr Jeremy Law. Interestingly, I can now hear the Mahler again with fresh ears, and I truly understand it.
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