Portsmouth Grammar School commissioned Davies for a Rememberance Sunday commemoration concert – the school’s resident choir is coupled with the London Mozart Players and Andrew Cleary to perform the new 23-minute work at Portsmouth Cathedral on Sunday 14 November. The music is set to Walt Whitman’s 'Dirge for Two Veterans' – a fitting and emblematic tribute to the veterans who fought in World Wars I & II.
Also performed on the evening was Davies earlier work 'Residuum' (2004) for two solo violins, solo cello and strings.
'...[Tansy Davies] chose the words of Walt Whitman for As with Voices and with Tears, a work for choir, string orchestra and electronics that used the spacious acoustic of Portsmouth Cathedral as an instrument in itself.
Whitman tells a chilling tale of a double grave for a father and son, killed side by side in combat. Davies extracted her music from this moving text using a system that assigned a different pitch to each letter of the alphabet, further moulding or sculpting the notes and enriching the harmonies into tonal clusters, so that the vocal lines are often only a semitone apart – difficult to sing but both arresting and mysterious in effect.
While bells, birdsong and footsteps murmur in and out in electronic interjections, singers and orchestra move as separate flocks on the wing, forming and reforming in large shapes that stream across the desolate landscape of the poem. The young choir sang this haunting, richly textured, mesmerising requiem with a flair and precision way beyond their years under the assured direction of Andrew Cleary in a most remarkable act of remembrance.'
The Guardian (Stephen Pritchard), 22 November 2010