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Drowning songs : for chamber choir

by Caitlin Rowley (2014)

Drowning songs


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Drowning songs : for chamber choir / Caitlin Rowley.

Library shelf no. 782.55542/ROW 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

Drowning Songs is an evocation of the experience of drowning and a remembrance of those who have drowned. The text consists of a fragment of the psalm 'De Profundis', the names of the some of the seamen listed as drowned in circumstances other than shipwreck in the British Merchant Navy records for the period between July 1881 and June 1882, and additional text devised by the composer.

The opening of the piece draws on a description of bodies sinking down through deep water, "falling like dolls", given in the book All the Drowned Sailors by Raymond B. Lech. Depth and the action of the waves are recurring ideas throughout the piece, with the recurrence of the opening gesture and the susurration of whispered and spoken names of sailors rising and falling.

Composed for a performance of maritime-themed works to be held under the keel of the Cutty Sark ship at Greenwich, London in 2014.

Work Details

Year: 2014

Instrumentation: SATB chamber choir incl. soprano solo.

Duration: 6 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Independent movement within parts, spoken sections

Commission note: Commissioned by Trinity Laban Chamber Choir.

First performance: by Trinity Laban Chamber Choir, Stephen Jackson — 20 Mar 14. Cutty Sark, Royal Museums Greenwich, UK

The opening of the piece was initially developed as an artwork, which is included in the score.

Performances of this work

20 Mar 14: Cutty Sark, Royal Museums Greenwich, UK. Featuring Trinity Laban Chamber Choir, Stephen Jackson.

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