When Dr Bernie Sherlock approached me to commission a setting of W B Yeats poem for New Dublin Voices, Iʼm ashamed to say that I wasnʼt familiar with his work But it gave me a fantastic opportunity to read through his Collected poems  so many jumped out at me, begging to be set.

The Poet Pleads with the Elemental Powers chimed with me especially  the desperation of having to draw so profoundly deeply for nebulous creative inspiration then being swept away with it once it arrives, chimed with the passionate turbulence and Celtic mysticism in this poem.
The direction for the performers, from the start is Stormy  the elemental powers are relentless and create a constant chromatic swirling accompaniment in one half of the choir, whilst the other half describe the form that the Elemental Powers take.

The last verse feels like a prayer of sorts to me, so this is a quieter, more reflective and hymn-like part. However the final chord is strong but unsettled in its harmony, as if there will never be complete rest from those stormy powers.

I am very grateful to Bernie for this commission and the Arts Council of Ireland for its funding support.
It lasts approximately 4 minutes.
Roxanna Panufnik (4 December 2023)