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When soft voices die : choir and cor anglais

by Mary Finsterer and Percy Bysshe Shelley (2014)

When soft voices die


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When soft voices die : choir and cor anglais / Mary Finsterer.

Library shelf no. 782.5542/FIN 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

This work began as one movement of a larger work- a Mass. My intention was to compose the first sung prayer in the Order, that being a Kyrie, but the sudden death of a dear friend, a young, single mother of two children, turned my attention to the fragility and transience of life. The passing of someone so vital in themselves and to the lives of others is one of those agonising tragedies that music and faith seem inadequate to console or honour. However, the magnitude of this situation called for a response.

"When soft voices die" is an elegy that has its roots in music for a spiritual occasion. Having in recent years spent much time investigating early music, the language is reminiscent of Renaissance tonality. Without ornamentation, the style aims for restraint and reflection. The text has been adapted from three poems by Percy Bysshe Shelley- Music when Soft Voices Die, A Fragment: To Music and A Lament.

Work Details

Year: 2014

Instrumentation: Cor anglais, SSAATTB choir.

Duration: 7 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Dedication note: Dedicated to the memory of Tamsin Cowling

Written for: Sydney Chamber Choir

Commission note: Commissioned by Paul Stanhope, Sydney Chamber Choir.

First performance: by Sydney Chamber Choir, Richard Gill at Fauré's Requiem + Finsterer (City Recital Hall) on 12 Apr 2014

Performances of this work

21 Apr 2022: at MSO: Metropolis: The Lost (St Paul's Cathedral (Melbourne)). Featuring Warren Trevelyan-Jones, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Chorus, Benjamin Northey.

13 Mar 2021: at Paul Stanhope: A New Requiem (City Recital Hall). Featuring Sydney Symphony Fellows, Sydney Chamber Choir.

12 Apr 2014: at Fauré's Requiem + Finsterer (City Recital Hall). Featuring Sydney Chamber Choir, Richard Gill.

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