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Tarik O'Regan

Publisher: Novello & Co

Night City (2012)
Commissioned by the Vassar College Department of Music for the Vassar College Choir and Women's Chorus, and first performed by them on February 2 2013 at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY.
Text Writer
Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979)
Novello & Co Ltd
Chorus a cappella / Chorus plus 1 instrument
Year Composed
9 Minutes
Double choir (SSA, SATB)

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Programme Note
Tarik O'Regan Night City (2012)
Night City is a setting of Elizabeth Bishop’s 1972 poem Night City [From the plane] taken from her final volume of poetry, Geography III. Scored for percussion and two choruses, Night City alternates between rich rhythmic propulsion and quiet sparseness: between the physicality of modern air travel over urban sprawl and the thoughts of the isolated passenger, looking on from afar.
Tarik O’Regan
October, 2012


[from the plane]

No foot could endure it,
shoes are too thin.
Broken glass, broken bottles,
heaps of them burn.

Over those fires
no one could walk:
those flaring acids
and variegated bloods.

The city burns tears.
A gathered lake
of aquamarine
begins to smoke.

The city burns guilt.
—For guilt-disposal
the central heat
must be this intense.

Diaphanous lymph,
bright turgid blood,
spatter outward
in clots of gold

to where run, molten,
in the dark environs
green and luminous
silicate rivers.

A pool of bitumen
one tycoon
wept by himself,
a blackened moon.

Another cried
a skyscraper up.
Look! Incandescent,
its wires drip.

The conflagration
fights for air
in a dread vacuum.
The sky is dead.

(Still, there are creatures,
careful ones, overhead.
They set down their feet, they walk
green, red; green, red.)

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  • 21 NOV 2015
    Elgar Concert Hall, Bramall Music Building, Birmingham University, UK
    Birmingham University Singers & University Chamber Choir
    Jonathan Clinch, organ; Simon Halsey, conductor
  • 02 FEB 2013
    Night City World Premiere
    Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY
    Vassar College Choir and Women's Chorus

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