The Windhover

for baritone and violin

--- Martin Bussey

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for baritone and violin

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Composer Martin Bussey
Year of Composition 2006
Duration ca.7'



Student Difficulty

Categories (all composers)
Catalogue ID ce-mb2tw1


Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem is set as a representation of two elements, by baritone and violin, using spatial effects to replicate in musical terms something of the poet’s concept of ‘inscape’. The singer and violin often perform metrically independent of each other, with the violin acting as a background.

Hence, the piece gains from observing the stage directions in the score, although these are not mandatory. The dedication of the poem, ‘To Christ our Lord’, suggests a fusion in the poet’s mind between the bird of the title and Christ. The Violin does not ‘represent’ the bird or Christ. Rather its gradual integration with the singer suggests the poet’s desire for integration with Christ. The introduction of the plainsong melody Christe qui lux est et dies is designed to heighten the sense of momentary fulfilment until, at the last, the singer is left alone on stage as the sound of the Violin recedes.