A tear

2014

mixed voices and organ, 9’

Commissioned by The Organ Project, Union Chapel

Text: Anonymous 14thC English poem, modernised.

f.p. James McVinnie (organ), Eclectic Voices, Scott Stroman (conductor), Union Chapel, London, 18th April 2014

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Programme Note
A tear is a piece about love and grief. The text is the first stanza of a fourteenth-century English poem on the crucifixion. The original reads:

Lovely ter of lovely eiye,
Why dostu me so wo?
Sorful ter of sorful eiye,
Thu brekst mine herte ato.

The music follows a clear structure: the poem is sung four times to the same melody, each time with different numbers of singers and in a slightly different way. In between these verses are organ ‘toccatas’. These toccatas are not embellishments or commentaries on the choral verses so much as spaces for reflection.