Wasted and Worn, Op.6 ["And calm of mind all passion spent."]

Little, J. D. (2016) Wasted and Worn, Op.6 ["And calm of mind all passion spent."]. [Compositions]

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Part Song for a cappella SSAATTBB Choir, with Soloists (text from “A Parting”, by John Leicester Warren, Third Baron de Tabley, in "Orpheus in Thrace and Other Poems", 1901) (first composition sketches 2005; completed March 2016)

Marked at the head of the score, “Bittersweet and With Dignity (yet always expressive)”, this work is dedicated to the memory of the artist, John William Godward (1861-1922) – whose work was largely overlooked during his lifetime – yet who ploughed on regardless, despite being ostracised by his own family in the pursuit of his art, and its technical perfection. Radically changing tastes and the aftermath of the First World War led him to feel that the possibility of realising an artistic golden age had vanished, ultimately leading him to take his own life. Upon reaching the culmination of many years of work, and at the height of his powers, Godward’s art had become “old-fashioned”, and seemingly worthless overnight, yet he was never truly recognised for the brilliance of his images even when he was creating them (a situation only rectified several decades later). Godward’s fate is perhaps representative of the condition of many hardworking and talented solitary artists, especially those lacking early advantage; and so the score of “Wasted and Worn” also includes this head-quotation from Elegy Written in a Country Church-Yard (1751) by Thomas Gray (1716-71):

“Along the cool sequester’d vale of life / They kept the noiseless tenour of their way.”

Wasted and worn that passion must expire,
Which swept at sunrise like a sudden fire
Across the whitened crest of happy waves.
Now lonely in a labyrinth of graves,
His footsteps foiled, his spirit bound and numb,
Grey Love sits dumb.

First recorded 22nd April 2016 in the First United Methodist Church, Hamilton, Ohio, USA, by the Stanbery Singers, directed by Paul John Stanbery.

[Part of a large-scale, contemporary, "Polychoral Music Composition and Recording Project"]


Publication Type: Compositions
Additional Information: AWARDS: * Australian Government / Australia Council for the Arts: “Individual International Arts Project Award” (UK, US, Australia) 2015-17 Several of the works in this project collection feature intricate, a cappella, polychoral-inspired techniques. These include multi-part, multi-divisi, and unusual spatial effects (or cori spezzati – literally “split choirs” – as the technique was referred to in the Renaissance and early Baroque periods). Therefore different sections of the choir, or different “sub-choirs” and/or vocal soloists, are sometimes placed in various arrangements around and above the audience: this ancient technique being pioneered in modern form in “Kyrie”, Op.5, for 21 individual vocal lines – where some singers are stationed in a gallery, and at a distance. Some works also feature echo effects, as well as isorhythmic fragments, melodic and rhythmic hocket, while cross-rhythms and cross-textuality may additionally be involved. Due to the incorporation of such “polychoral”-derived techniques (in addition to some derived from Medieval music), a striking extra dimension is added both to recordings and to live performances (where the aural “spatial” interest creates a quasi-theatrical effect). The harmonic language is largely built on the composer’s personalised modal foundations, frequently complemented by very subtle use of rhythm and ornament, which can sometimes involve quite elaborate – but always delicate – “filigree”-like patterns.
Uncontrolled Keywords: a cappella, a capella, choral, choir, SSAATBB, secular, vocal
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions: Academic Areas > Conservatoire
Media of Output: Print Music
Composition Type: Choral: a cappella SSAATTBB choir with soloists
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Jonathan Little
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2017 11:25
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2017 15:29
URI: https://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/2264

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