Sheet Music: Score
The church-floor / [text by] George Herbert ; [music by] Becky Llewellyn.
by Becky Llewellyn (2002)
As the final work in the Soul Architecture cycle of George Herbert's metaphysical poems, this work explores the literal foundation of the church, its floor, portraying God as the Architect of both the church and the heart.
Composing to words from this period meant creating a sound world with resonance to the 17th century. In Herbert's poem, the church's foundations are built with patience, humility, confidence, love and charity. Each stanza begins with a description of the floor then delves beneath for its meaning. He portrays Death, puffing at the door, blowing dust about the floor who thinks he is spoiling the room but is really sweeping it. This is not modern imagery, but, like the iconography of church stained glass windows, it points to other levels. Jesus was a prolific user of parables and the priest Herbert uses them to powerful effect.
The imagery of black and white marble suggested an alternation of major and minor keys. I also wrote to the strengths of the singers in Syntony, who commissioned the piece. The figured bass style, the floating melismatic lines are all hallmarks of Syntony's sound. I enjoyed the collaboration with these fine musicians in shaping the final piece.
Published by: Australian Music Centre — 1 facsimile score (11p. -- A4 (portrait))
Duration: 5 min.
Commissioned by Syntony.
First performance by Syntony — 1970. In a program called 'Architecture'; Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Flinders Street, Adelaide
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