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The Turn for Choir (SSATBarB) by Ben Rowarth.
Commissioned by Robbie Jacobs and Reverie.
This work was composed in 2016 and first performed at The Tower of London by Reverie Vocal Ensemble conducted by Robbie Jacobs.
Duration: 20 minutes
This piece is designed to have sections of Claudio Monteverdi’s Lamento D’Arianna interleaved between the movements. The order is as follows:
The Turn – Movement 1
Lamento D’Arianna - Bars 1 - 141
The Turn - Movement 2
Lamento D’Arianna - Bars 142 – 196
The Turn - Movement 3
Lamento D’Arianna - Bars 196 - end
The Turn - Movement 4
Individual singers begin by repeating their material in bar 1 in free time, unsynchronised, ad lib. They should then seamlessly move onto bar 2 and repeat in the same fashion, then bar 3 and continue repeating bar 3 material, as indicated, from bar 4 to 7.
Bar 18 (and 70) - this bar should repeat, synchronised and in tempo, from bar 19 onwards until marked. Bar 19 should being after the second repeat of this bar.
Bar 29 (and 68) - glissandi should be slow and therefore not cover a large pitch range, although this should be at the discretion of the individual singer and not unified within parts.
Tenors not singing the solo should join the baritone part, baritones should be split between baritone and bass to balance.
When singers on held notes need to breathe, they should do so deliberately (if quietly) and come back in repeating their entire syllable (rather than stagger on the vowel). They should, however, try not to breathe at the same time as other singers on their part. The intention is that this should create a texture where repetition of the words is constantly heard within the full choir.
Bar 8 - as the full choir begin to sing the aleatoric texture notated in bar 7, the soprano solo begins the proceeding bars from bar 8 onwards over the top.
Bar 24 - the soprano solo continues in time and singers in the full choir move slowly, one by one, from their previous notes (bar 7) to their first note of bar 26. All singers should have arrived at bar 26 by the time (or at the same time) as the soprano solo part gets there, bringing the solo part and full choir back into sync from bar 26.
Bar 28 - the soprano solo part and bass part continue in time. As they are doing so, the inner four parts work as follows. Individual singers in these parts should move through the 1-bar phrases, in the order marked, in free time and unsynchronised. When a singer reaches the end of the given phrases, they should go back to the beginning and repeat. As each part is beginning these phrases for the first time, one singer should start and gradually the other singers on that part should enter, one by one, with the aim of being unsynchronised. As the texture builds, the speed at which the phrases are sung should increase.
This aleatoric texture should move seamlessly into bar 32 as the soprano solo and bass part arrive on the downbeat. From this point, all parts are once again in sync and in time.
Final bar - this should be repeated by the soprano soloist three times, slowly. Underneath this, the final section of Monteverdi Lamento D’Arianna should begin, starting just after the soprano soloist reaches this final bar (for the first time)
Bar 12 - alto recitation note should move after the colon.