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Pride Motets (2023)

Notes

For choir (SATB divisi.) and piano

Composed for the Choir of Somerville College Oxford

 

First performance by Somerville Choir at Somerville College Chapel, June 4 2023

Commissioned by Somerville College, Oxford

Texts: Richard Barnfield, Jay Hulme, E.E. Cummings

Duration: 5 minutes

Pride Motets

i - my love

ii - this heart 

iii - for him

My Pride Motets emerged from a personal and introspective journey, initiated by a commission for a 'Pride' contemplation for the Choir of Somerville College, Oxford. Drawing from a collection of poems by queer writers, the motets explore the experiences of queer men in love. The first movement delves into the isolation frequently encountered within the queer community, presenting an image of pain and longing. In contrast, the second movement serves as a space of soothing and healing, before the pinnacle of the cycle for him, which embraces hope, joy and resilience. The Motets paint a nuanced representation of a personal queer experience.

Pride Motets

i - my love

ii - this heart 

iii - for him

i. my love

Sonnet 16

Long have I longed to see my love again, 

Still have I wished, but never could obtain it; 

Rather than all the world (if I might gain it) 

Would I desire my love’s sweet precious gain. 

Yet in my soul I see him every day, 

See him, and see his still stern countenance, 

But (ah) what is of long continuance, 

Where majesty and beauty bears the sway? 

Sometimes, when I imagine that I see him, 

(As love is full of foolish fantasies) 

Weening to kiss his lips, as my love’s fees, 

I feele but air: nothing but air to be him. 

Thus with Ixion, kiss I clouds in vain: 

Thus with Ixion, feele I endless pain. 

Richard Barnfield

ii. this heart

from Jesus at the Gay Bar

my beautiful child

there is nothing in this heart of yours

that ever needs to be healed.

Jay Hulme

iii. for him

i carry your heart with me

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in

my heart)i am never without it(anywhere

i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done

by only me is your doing,my darling)

                                                      i fear

no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want

no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)

and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

 

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows

higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

 

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

E.E. Cummings

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iii. for him
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