The Cold Heaven

for soprano, recorder, oboe, violin and cello

--- Martin Bussey

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for soprano, recorder, oboe, violin and cello

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Composer Martin Bussey
Year of Composition 2019
Duration -


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Student Difficulty

Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-mb2tch1


This setting of W.B.Yeats was composed in 2019 for the CD ‘Songs for Sir John’ in tribute to Sir John Manduell on the divine arts record label. The poem focuses on dichotomies, for example ‘That seemed as though ice burned’. It seemed ideal as a choice for the requested instrumentation of soprano, recorder, oboe, violin and ‘cello. Yeats’ two sentences (the first very long) provoke a rhetorical, often dramatic vocal line. The accompaniment alternates between contrapuntal, angular lines and an insistent staccato figure. The poem’s conflicts seem resolved by a calm ending, although this in fact represents an unresolved question about the afterlife.