When David heard : for chamber choir and piano
by Jennifer Fowler (1983, this version: 2007)
Score SampleView a sample of the score of this work
Performance by Roland Peelman, Sydney Chamber Choir from the CD Works by Bowman, Schultz, Yu, Ford, Twist, Holley, Kerry, Spiers and Fowler
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When David Heard is the setting of a dramatic account of the death of Absolem. It contains a universal theme: the rebellion of a child against his parent. Everyone who has been a child or a parent will recognise the love, hate and guilt engendered in this relationship. David is forced to fight, in order to retain his kingship, but he is overcome by guilt, as well as grief, when his son is killed in the battle.
Musically, I was thinking in terms of a kind of chanting, and here I found it useful to think of Aboriginal chant, rather than that of the European tradition. From Aboriginal chant, I have borrowed the idea of a phrase pattern which typically starts high and loud and finishes low and soft. It is also slightly out of synchronisation in pitch and rhythm. Having established this pattern I have then found it useful to break out of it at certain dramatic points. Rather more of the story is told in this version, than in the famous Thomas Tomkins motet of the same name; but the piece ends with the same text as Tomkins and contains a couple of brief musical references to it.
Year: 1983, this version: 2007
Instrumentation: SATB choir (divided into 4 groups), piano (or alternative other non-keyboard instrument, or voice).
Duration: 9 min.
Dedication note: To my friend David Tunley, and his son, Martin, and to my son, Martin.
Commission note: Commissioned with funds provided by Australia Council. Music Board.. Commissioned for the Collegium Musicum of the University of Western Australia.
Text from the Bible (Samuel 2, 17), adapted from the New English Bible.
- In the form/style of: Spiritual and Sacred Music
Performances of this work
6 Jun 85: St Johns Smith Square, London UK. Featuring Pegasus Chamber Choir.
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