Verbum bonum et suave

for SSAATB choir

Brian Inglis

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for SSAATB choir

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Composer Brian Inglis
Year of Composition 2010
Duration ca.6'
ISMN 9790570680832


Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-bi1vbes1


Commissioned by Jeremy Rouse for Ishirini. More information about the commission can be found here.

When Jeremy Rouse asked me to write a piece for the choir Ishirini he suggested I make some use of the medieval polyphonic Verbum Bonum Et Suave found in Netherbury church – the site of the piece’s premiere. Parts of the music from the Netherbury manuscript are incorporated into my piece, somewhat re-clothed, although within a section with a clearly (if generalised) medieval sound. I also used some of the words from the medieval piece (the opening phrase) at the beginning and end of my composition, but with quite different music – at the beginning, an evocation of the pealing of church bells; at the end, in a kind of chorale built on additive principles. The main body of text is taken from an English rendering of a prayer from the Corpus Hermeticum, a body of mystical and Gnostic texts compiled in Egypt in the early centuries of the Christian era – the theme of buried and ‘hidden’ words finding a echo in the ‘good and sweet word’ of the medieval title.

First performance: Ishirini/Jeremy Rouse, St Mary’s Church, Netherbury, Dorset, 10 April 2010.

Recorded 3/11/2013, The Old Church Arts Centre, Stoke Newington, London: Ishirini chamber choir/Jeremy Rouse.