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Patrick Hawes

Publisher: Novello & Co

Song of Songs
Novello & Co Ltd
Chorus and Orchestra/Ensemble
22 Minutes
SATB chor

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Programme Note
Patrick Hawes Song of Songs
The collection of love poetry which forms the Old Testament’s Song of Songs has always presented a conundrum to scholars. The orthodox understanding of its presence in the Canon of Scripture was the widespread use in the Prophets of the concept of God as the husband of Israel. For the Christian mystical tradition, the dialogue between the lover and the beloved gave voice to the relationship of the soul to Christ. Bernard of Clairvaux preached over fifty sermons on them! Jesus called himself ‘the Bridegroom’ giving authority to this reading. Some have seen Mary the Mother of Jesus in the references to the ‘room where my mother conceived me.’ The relationship of romantic and erotic love to spirituality is the subject of these songs. They express desire, hope, confusion and joy; the whole range of emotions experienced by the lover - but there is no final consummation. The metaphors of vine, wine, garden and fountain are ones that prefigure the language of Christian spirituality. They provide Christian spirituality with a language of love that is both sensual and spiritual, of earth and of heaven. The text for these songs is faithful to the text of the Bible but poetic licence has provided a narrative structure and the development of some metaphors. The cry of the lover to the beloved, the heightening of the senses through sumptuous smells and tastes, and the imagery of fire and nature provide a rich basis for a certain type of music - music born out of our time, yes, but
which also draws upon the timelessness of tonality, consonance and balance.

Notes by Andrew and Patrick Hawes, 2009

  • Ensemble
    English Chamber Orchestra / Conventus
    Elin Manahan Thomas
    Signum Classics:
  • Conductor
    David Hill
    Music Sales Group:
  • 25 OCT 2015
    St. Gallen, Switzerland
    Sinfonisches Orchester Arbon
    Bernhard Bichler, conductor
  • 23 OCT 2015
    Ev. Kirche Arbon, Switzerland
    Sinfonisches Orchester Arbon
    Bernhard Bichler, conductor

    Other Dates:
    25 October - Kirche St. Laurenzen, St. Gallen, Switzerland
  • 19 JUL 2014
    Romsey Abbey
    Winchester Consort
  • 11 JUN 2014
    The New Choral Singers
  • 11 OCT 2013
    Missouri Baptist University, St Louis
    Missouri Baptist University
    Larry Smith, conductor
  • 11 OCT 2013
    Song of Songs Country Premiere
    St. Louis, MO
    Missouri Baptist University
    Larry Smith, conductor
  • 06 SEP 2013
    Hastings International Composers Festival, Hastings
    Winchester Consort
  • 21 APR 2013
    Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, Ireland
    Members of Mary Immaculate College
  • 24 MAR 2013
    St James's Church, Louth, Lincolnshire
    Louth Choral Society
  • 29 SEP 2012
    Winchester Consort of Voices: Song of Songs
    Winchester Cathedral, Winchester, UK
    Winchester Consort of Voices
    Patrick Hawes, conductor
  • 17 OCT 2009
    Douai Abbey, UK
    The Cecilia Consort
    Patrick Hawes, conductor

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