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For these my friends and yours : madrigal for 4 male voices from a text by Sappho

by Caroline Wilkins (1994)

Audio Sample

Performance by Hilliard Ensemble from the CD Caroline Wilkins

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Caroline Wilkins


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Caroline Wilkins : CD 3

Library shelf no. CD 2292 [Available for loan]

For these my friends and yours...


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Work Overview

The title comes from a phrase that may have ended this fragmetary poem by Sappho- 'Hither to me from Crete to this holy temple, where is your delightful grove of apple branches, and the whole place is shadowed by roses, and from the shimmering leaves the sleep of enchantment comes down; there, Cypris, take...and pour gracefully into golden cups nectar that is mingled with our festivities for these my friends and yours.' The text evokes a certain echo in its incompleteness, as if the tought that is interrupted by the missing parts continues on. In choosing this poem I found a parallel between the form of the early italian trecento madrigal and the Sapphic strophe, both consisting of 11 syllables per line.

The structure of the work is related to that of a hedecagon, a plane figure with 11 sides and angles, that moves 'in the form of a wheel like the sun'. (Rene Char)

Work Details

Year: 1994

Instrumentation: 4 male voices: Counter tenor, 2 tenors, baritone.

Duration: 7 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Sustained lines and pitches

Commission note: Commissioned by Hilliard Ensemble.

First performance: by Hilliard Ensemble — Apr 94. Witten New Music Days


Performances of this work

Apr 94: Witten New Music Days. Featuring Hilliard Ensemble.

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