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Sheet Music: Score

Caedo : for SATB vocal ensemble with divisi / music by Meta Cohen ; words by S.J. Bryson.

by Meta Cohen (2023)


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'Caedo' is a piece about fanaticism.

It is a reflection on how violence creates boundaries between us that divide us - boundaries that are sometimes arbitrary and decided by the few.

'Caedo' deals with a historical act of violence, exploring its resonance with our current political climate. The massacre at Béziers in 1209 went down in the history of the Crusades as a moment of immense bloodshed. It was Christians against Christians: because the Cathars (a Christian sect of the Languedoc region of France) had resisted the Pope's attempts at conversion, Pope Innocent III launched a crusade against them. It is estimated that there were 20 000 deaths in this battle alone.

When the soldiers laying siege to Béziers discovered that there were Catholics mingled in with the so-called 'heretics' in the city, they asked the abbot for guidance, as they could not distinguish the 'faithful' from the traitorous. Reportedly, he responded with

'Kill them all for the Lord will know His own'.

And so they did. This holy mission justified the crusaders in waging war against their own people.

Despite this event occurring in the 13th Century, its sentiment bears a striking resemblance to today's climate of intolerance and ideological violence. The text extends the metaphor of violence to the land crying out for grief, spores on the wind, decay and putrefaction, mirroring the suffering of people against that of the earth.

I hope that this piece might draw attention to our overwhelming and cyclical tendency towards brutality, so that we may someday break this pattern.

Published by: Australian Music Centre — 1 facsimile score (18p. -- A4 (portrait))

Difficulty: Advanced — Highly advanced, both in terms of harmony and irregular rhythm

Duration: 7 min.

First performance by The Consort of Melbourne at Music at McClelland - Consort of Melbourne (McClelland Sculpture Park and Gallery) on 20 Aug 2023

Includes program notes.

Prizes/Awards: Third Prize at the Florence Leonardo Da Vinci International Composition Competition

Typeset edition.

ISMN: 979-0-67315-757-6

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Analysis & Media

- Video: Caedo

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