Songs of Stone

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Songs of Stone

for upper-voice choir
Commissioned by Royal Liverpool Philharmonic
In memory of Jeffrey Lawton

One of the most significant features of Liverpool is its two great Cathedrals, and Hope street which links them. “Songs of Stone” concerns itself with the journey from one cathedral to another via Hope Street, and comprises of three movements with texts set accordingly.

Movement 1 draws text from Psalm 127 and from the Anglican Dedication Festival. It is a soft and reflective movement, especially in comparison with the other two movements.

Movement 2 starts and ends with an Alto solo, surrounding the bustling and highly-rhythmic inner section, which reflects on the nature of Hope Street itself. The movement is set to a text by poet Ian McMillan, which in itself depicts a journey, making it perfect for the piece.

Movement 3 concludes the journey climactically, with a text taken from Laudes Regiae, which was originally used for the laying of the foundation stone at the site of the Metropolitan cathedral. It features several Soprano solos, accompanied by ‘bell-like’ clusters. Much of this movement’s melodic content is drawn from plainchant, notably within the Soprano solos.

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Friday 19th April, 2019
St. George's Hall, Liverpool

Performed by National Youth Choirs of Great Britain
Conducted by Greg Beardsell

Monday 5th November, 2018
Royal Albert Hall, London
Proms - Music for Youth

Performed by Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir
Conducted by Joshua Quinlan

Tuesday 3rd July, 2018
CBSO Centre, Birmingham
National Festival - Music for Youth

Performed by Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir
Conducted by Joshua Quinlan

Thursday 18th February, 2018
Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool
World Premiere

Performed by Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir
Conducted by Joshua Quinlan

Movement 1 (Psalms 122 and 127):
Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labour in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.

I was glad when they said unto me,
Let us go into the house of the Lord.
Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is built as a city.

Movement 2 (Hope Street by Ian McMillan *):
Imagine an axis; imagine a washing line
Hung across a city. Cathedrals, a theatre
And a hotel hang from the line
And flap in the century’s breeze…
This is Hope Street; imagine an artery
Pumping life through a city, imagine
A walk from one end of Hope to the other end
Of Hope on a moonlit evening…
Yes, that’s right. You’re walking through Hope.
Imagine a street where the soul is brightened
And the coffee is the best you can get in a city
That loves to keep itself awake.
Hope Street. Aptly named. See you there.

Movement 3 (parts of Laudes Regiae):
Christus vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat!
Exaudi Christe ecclesiae santae Dei salus perpetua.
Redemptor mundi, tu illam adiuva.
Pax Christi veniat!
Regnum Christi veniat!
Deo gratias!

* used by permission of the author

Performed by the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, April 2019.
Recording © National Youth Choirs of Great Britain 2019. All rights reserved.

Performed by Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir, February 2018.
Recording © Royal Liverpool Philharmonic 2018. All rights reserved.

The following items are available
- Vocal Score (Buy Now)

These can be purchased from Apollo Edition by clicking on the link next to the relevant item.

Copyright © Joshua Quinlan 2019. All rights reserved.