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Amos 5:8 Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into morning. Seek him that calleth for the waters of the sea: The Lord is his name.

The text drew me due to its ethereal, radiant and spiritual qualities which could be intensified through music. It was greatly important to capture the meaning and associated mystery; achieved through dissonance, repetition, the slow build-up of sound, and moments of silence. It begins with parts slowly coming in in turn to create a highly dissonant tetrachord, producing a feeling of mystery and the unknown. This sequence of entries is repeated as if to emphasise the importance of the word and what is to come. Following this a soaring solo soprano line provides an element of purity and light, playing an important role each time it occurs throughout the piece. The homophonic texture of the other voices provides an answer to the soloist, whilst maintaining the mood through a series of unresolved chords.

In the middle section, the listener expects it to carry on in much the same way as the beginning, yet the introduction of the whole tone scale gives the piece a brighter warmth and mysterious depth whilst still keeping the stasis of before, although adding an air of unfamiliarity. Again a high soaring solo soprano line materialises, yet this time only using the notes of the whole tone scale. The following recapitulation brings about an air of familiarity, with its repetition of the beginning. The last sentence is intoned on one note adding to the simplicity and thus the serenity and mystery, by not emphasising these words (as they are the most important) in a conventional way (with elements such as a fortissimo dynamic), it in turn paradoxically provides more weight and meaning in a delicate, yet significant way.

Written for the composition element of my A2 level music, 2012. The recording associated with this score was made by the Godolphin School Vocal Ensemble, conducted by Olivia Sparkhall, at the Midsummer Concert 2012

Score ID
Year of composition
Amos 5:8
Difficult (Grades 7+)
4 minutes
Modern classical music and Classical music

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