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And I heard a voice out of heaven : for mezzo-soprano and baritone soli, SATB chorus unaccompanied

by Elliott Gyger (1997)

Audio Sample

Performance by Catherine Playoust, Michael Olbash, Seraphim Singers, Jennifer Lester from the CD Choral music

Choral music


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Choral music : live recordings 1987-2004 / Elliott Gyger.

Library shelf no. CD 1518 [Available for loan]

And I heard a voice out of heaven


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Work Overview

The text of And I heard a voice out of heaven, quite apart from its visionary promise of eternal rest, shows us the process of scriptural transmission at the very beginning. We observe the narrator (John of Patmos) receiving "divine dictation" being instructed to write down what he hears, so that the news may be passed on to the rest of the world. The present work emphasizes this process of transmission by interleaving settings of the text in three different languages. A solo baritone perhaps John himself, in the grip of his vision declaims the text in the original Greek; the choir translates it into the Latin of the Vulgate, the form in which it has been most widely known over the course of its two-millennium history; and a solo mezzo-soprano interprets it in modern English. These three layers are heard in alternation, sometimes overlapping, through most of the piece. It is only in the final section that they all come together, in a gentle lullaby for the blessed dead.

Work Details

Year: 1997

Instrumentation: Mezzo-soprano solo, baritone solo, SATB choir.

Duration: 5 min.

Difficulty: Easy — Amateur choir, more challenging solo parts

Written for: St Paul Parish Adult Choir, Joseph Policelli

First performance: by Catherine Playoust, Elliott Gyger, St Paul Parish Adult Choir, Joseph Policelli — 26 Apr 98. St Paul Church, Harvard Square, Cambridge, USA

Text from Revelation Ch. 14, v. 13.

Winner of Francis Boott Prize in concerted vocal music (Harvard University, USA), 1998.


Performances of this work

5 May 2019: at Songs from Paradise (Newington College Chapel). Featuring Andrew O'Connor, Margaret Tesch-Muller, Coro Innominata, Claire Burrell-McDonald.

1 Nov 2018: at A Concert for Armistice (Melba Hall). Featuring David Barnard, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music Chamber Choir.

5 Oct 2014: at Travel Kaleidoscope II (Church of All Nations). Featuring Astra Choir, John McCaughey.

19 Jun 04: Church of the Redeemer, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts USA. Featuring Jennifer Lester, Catherine Playoust, Michael Olbash, Seraphim Singers.

26 Apr 98: St Paul Church, Harvard Square, Cambridge, USA. Featuring Catherine Playoust, Joseph Policelli, St Paul Parish Adult Choir, Elliott Gyger.

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