Matthew Martin's When David heard was commissioned for the Norwegian chamber choir Kor Vest and was first performed as part of the 2012 Bergen Festival, conducted by Simon Halsey

We got Simon's thoughts on why he commissioned this work from Matthew.

"All my life I've known the two famous Tudor settings of When David heard by Thomas Tomkins and Thomas Weelkes and in recent years I've been thrilled by Eric Whitacre's version. I therefore decided for a programme at the Bergen International Festival, Norway 2012, to commission Matthew Martin to write a fourth setting, and to base a programme around these four very different versions of the same highly emotional text. Matthew's version did not disappoint! It's very clever, original, thoughtful and a bit different but it's essentially emotional, imaginative and practical. I can recommend it to you most strongly".

Matthew's setting sets the well-known and intense passage from 2 Samuel and intersperses it with a verse from Psalm 39: "Lord, let me know mine end", scored for three solo voices. The work opens with a declamatory outpouring of grief of a Father at the sight of his dead son. Then follow contrasting passages which switch rapidly between contemplative and more dramatic material, reflecting the mood of the two texts and playing out the musical narrative. After a climactic expression of "Absolon! Would God I had died for thee", the piece gradually fades over repeated invocations of the Psalm, leaving a solo tenor voice hanging in the air.

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