Text: Jean Elliot (1727-1805), Walter Scott (1771-1832)
For Vocal Ensemble (SSAATTBB)
Duration: 5 mins approx.
My work Lament sets the poem The Flowers of the Forest by the Scottish poet Jean Elliot and surrounds it by fragments of Walter Scott’s Marmion: A tale of Flodden Field. Both texts are responses to the battle of Flodden in which at least 10,000 Scots died. Elliot’s poem evokes a community bereft of its young men in which women go about their daily tasks in mourning, whilst Scott’s depicts the battle itself. In setting the texts I split the choir in two: Jean Elliot’s poem is sung by the female voices, representing the almost exclusively female community of the text, whilst phrases of the Scott drift into the music in ghostly mutters and whispers from the male voices who, if possible, are to be placed within the audience. The largely modal harmonic language is intended to be loosely reminiscent of Scot’s folk music as is the use of ornamentation and the episodes of dance-like material. I was also thinking of Scot’s mouth music or puirt à beul, looking to view it through a lens of my own in my use of glissandi and melisma.