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Balaam Song Cycle - 1 - Fleeting, God (i) [SATB]

Composer

Jamie John Hutchings

Year of composition

2011

Lyricist

ST TERESA OF AVILA (1515 - 1582)

Difficulty

Moderate (Grades 4-6)

Duration

3 minutes

Instrumentation

Choir + keyboard

Genre

Classical music

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The genesis for this cycle came from Michael Balaam, formerly Chairman of the Suffolk Singers, a group with whom I have had the privilege of working for some years. He approached me in 2011 to write a song cycle for choir; he suggested the texts, and within a couple of weeks we had the working drafts. There are seven movements in total; the idea was to have it performed at Christmas 2011, so the texts have a dual Christmas purpose, but can be performed at any time.

I have used several devices to link the movements, particularly the notes of C, F, E, G and A; their combination as a pentatonic scale but also in repeated chords has provided a useful ’cloud’ of sound around which to base the works. Equally, I have not stuck rigidly to this harmonic idea at the expense of the compositional process.

The text is by St Teresa of Avila:

Let nothing trouble you,
 Let nothing frighten you, 
Everything is fleeting,
 God along is unchanging
 Patience will obtain everything
 The one who has God has everything:
 God alone suffices.

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