Sounds and Sweet Airs

for upper voice choir with piano, string orchestra or chamber orchestra

--- Ian Stephens

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for upper voice choir with piano, string orchestra or chamber orchestra

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Composer Ian Stephens
Year of Composition 2018
Duration ca.12'

Categories (all composers) , , , ,
Catalogue ID ce-is1sasa1


Please contact us directly to enquire about score and parts pricing. Multi-copy discounts for the vocal score are available – please get in touch to discuss your requirements. A string part supplement is also available if extra printed string parts are required.

Commissioned by Neil and Rosemary McCormick, Sounds and Sweet Airs is dedicated to John Jenkins and Sherborne School for Girls. It was written to celebrate the opening of the Merritt Centre at Sherborne School for Girls, and was first performed by the school’s choir and orchestra under the baton of John Jenkins on 27 June 2019. It’s a setting of Act 3 Scene 2 from Shakespeare’s The Tempest (1610-11), in which Caliban speaks to Stephano and Trinculo:

Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight, and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices,
That if I then had waked after long sleep
Will make me sleep again; and then in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me; that, when I waked,
I cried to dream again.

The piece can be performed by upper voice choir with any of the following forces: piano / string orchestra / string orchestra + piano / chamber orchestra / chamber orchestra + piano.

The piano part can be played on the organ, with voicing at the organist’s discretion. It’s largely a reduction of the orchestral parts, so should be used judiciously when string orchestra or chamber orchestra are playing, dropping out and reinforcing as appropriate. A selection of the wind and brass parts can be used rather than the full complement. The double bass part is optional.

I wrote Sounds and Sweet Airs late in 2018. In one continuous movement, it lasts about 12 minutes.