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On Leaving

(1999)
for 8-part choir (including tenor solo) with recorder and percussion
Instrument(s) + Choir
21:50
2008
TOV005c
A4, 40 pages

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About On Leaving the composer writes: For this composition I turned to the prayer book and selected lines from the ‘Canon to Jesus Christ Our Lord and the Virgin Mary on the Hour of Leaving of Orthodox Souls’ (parts 1-3) and from the chapter ‘On Burying Lay People’ (parts 4-5). While working on the composition I acquainted myself with the 15th-17th century tradition of (Russian) polyphonic singing and with various forms of Russian sacred poetry. The natural dissonance and the almost impenetrable rhythmic organisation of heterophonic polyphony I find most remarkable. It’s these very elements, to my mind, that give the national musical culture its distinctness.

Part 1. SATB

Part 2. T solo, S 1/2, Alto 1/2, Tenor 1/2, Bass, Tr.fl (C), 3 triangels

Part 3. Tenor 1/2, Bass 1/2

Part 4. SAT

Part 5. SATB

Vocal Text 

Part 1. Amen. Lord have mercy. To thee O Lord, Amen. 

‘Canon on the separation of the soul from the body’. 

Part 2.
Like drops of rain my evil days and few, dried up by summer’s heat, already gently vanish: O Lady, save me. (Ode 1) 

Part 3.
The night of death, gloomy and moonless, hath overtaken me, still unready, sending me forth on that long and dreadful journey unprepared. But let thy mercy accompany me, O Lady. 

Lo, all my days are vanished, of a truth, in vanity, as it is written and my years also are in vain; and now the snares of death, which of a truth are bitter, have entangled my soul, and have compassed me round about. (Ode 7) 

Vouchafe that I may escape the hordes of bodiless barbarians, and rise through the abysses of the air, and enter into heaven; and I will glorify thee forever, O holy birth-giver of God.
When the last great trumpet shall sound unto the frightful and dread Resurrection of the Judgement Day, and all shall rise from the dead; then remember thou me, O holy birth-giver of God. 

(Ode 8) 

After the soul leaves the body 

Part 4.
With the saints give rest O Christ, to the souls of thy servants, where there is neither sickness, nor sorrow, nor sighing, but light everlasting.
(Kondakion) 

Part 5.
Thou only art immortal, who hast created and fashioned man. For out of the earth were we mortals made, and unto the earth shall we return again, as thou didst command when thou madest me, saying unto me: For earth thou art, and unto the earth shalt thou return. Whither also all we mortals wend our way, making our funeral dirge the song: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.
(Ikos) 

– from the Service Book of the Holy Orthodox Catholic Apostolic Church. 


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