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Weep, O Mine Eyes : SATB choir

by Joseph Twist (2017)

Weep, O Mine Eyes


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Weep, O Mine Eyes / Joe Twist.

Library shelf no. 782.5542/TWI 3 [Not for loan]

Work Overview

Love is a universal feeling, and music is the universal language through which to express it. The loss of a loved one is something we all experience, whether it be a lover, a relative, a parent or a true friend. So many madrigals are expressions of love or grief, as are most pop songs, folk tunes, jazz standards, and other genres. It's interesting to note that John Bennet was inspired by John Downland's "Flow my Tears" when he wrote his madrigal for four voices, "Weep O Mine Eyes," and the same text inspired John Wilbye to write one for three voices as well. Centuries later, composers and musicians continue inspire one another when expressing these universal feelings of love and sadness, across many different kinds of musical styles and genres.

The original text is truly inspiring. Words such as "to swell so high that I may drown me in you" are rich with imagery; a phrase that is as powerful as it is ironic, describing both love and death simultaneously in one beautiful sentence. I've endeavored to capture melancholy and irony in this work for 8 voices. Additionally, I've tried to add a sense of mystery and gravitas as a personal expression of my own unrequited love. The work opens with a sparse texture featuring two solo sopranos, gradually becoming richer and darker in color as the music unfolds. Naturally, the music swells during the words "to swell so high," but as it falls (or "drowns"), jazz harmonies offer intimacy and warmth, a kind of musical escapism from the pains of love and loss, before returning the mystery of the opening.

Work Details

Year: 2017

Instrumentation: SSAATTBB solo voices or choir (piano for rehearsal only).

Duration: 3 min.

Difficulty: Medium — Can be performed as 8 solo voices or SATB divisi choir

Commission note: Commissioned by The Golden Bridge, Los Angeles, California, 2017.

First performance: by Voces8 (Musical group) — 11 Nov 17. Gresham Centre, London UK

Shortlisted for the Voces8 VCM Foundation Composition Competition, 2017

Performances of this work

16 May 2021: at Text/ure (Canberra Girls' Grammar School). Featuring Oriana Chorale, Dan Walker.

11 Nov 17: Gresham Centre, London UK. Featuring Voces8 (Musical group).

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