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for flute and women's choir

Year:  1987   ·  Duration:  7m
Instrumentation:  flute, 14-part womens' voices

Year:  1987
Duration:  7m
Instrumentation  flute, 14-part womens' voices

David Hamilton

Composer:   David Hamilton


This work was very much tailored to my 1987 'Opus Fifteen' choir at Epsom Girls Grammar School (Auckland). The choir contained an excellent flautist, and some of the more soloistic choral passages were written with particular singers in mind.
The text comes from a long, and rather bizarre poem by Lord Byron (1788-1824): 'Darkness'. It was written in 1816. Byron was a flamboyant and notorious poet of the early nineteenth century, writing across many other literary forms as well. He was the ideal of the Romantic poet, gaining notoriety for his scandalous private life and being described by one contemporary as 'mad, bad and dangerous to know'.
Although written over two hundred years ago, it could easily be a description of the aftermath of nuclear war. The vivid imagery required a dramatic setting, and the choir is called upon to shout, whisper, scream, and (at times) sing. For the work I selected about one-third of the original poem.
The choir is asked to stand in a semicircle, with the flautist at the focal point, and at the end of the work there is a slightly theatrical touch for the flautist!

Darkness was premiered in June 1987, and sung that year in the Westpac School Music Contest finals (the last year in which there was a choral section) by 'Opus Fifteen'. The flautist was Elizabeth Hirst.

The score is available from the composer (contact

Text note

Text from Lord Byron