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Above the Stars

SSAA Choir, 4' 15" (2017)

This piece provides a contemporary look at this ancient Marian poem, set by William Byrd, among others. The vividly-described contrasting imagery in the text – light versus darkness, high versus low, goodness versus wretchedness – shows us the mysticism of the Middle Ages. I have set the text using a number of whole tone scales and clusters throughout the piece, which gives an air of mystery and lack of resolution to the piece, and creates unusual relationships between the voices. This aims to bring the text new life, as well as providing a reflection to the cross relations and distinct harmonic shifts in William Byrd’s setting of the same text (and his works overall).

Commissioned by Amuse Singers and Lee Ryder. Available on MusicSpoke.