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for 16 voices, SATB and 4 unpitched gongs

Year:  1987   ·  Duration:  12m

Year:  1987
Duration:  12m

Composer:   Annea Lockwood


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Saouah! is a nightscape - sounds having the fleet and fluid disembodied quality of sounds overheard at night, snatches of human melody, clusters of close pitches with the hazy quality of sounds on the threshold of hearing. Separating the groups of singers allows me to play with sound as movement, to send syllables darting across the space, or circling and reversing direction.

Sound changes, not always predictably, as it travels across water, which interests me very much, and at first I planned to literally move the groups of singers around, to have them glide, silently changing position. But there seemed much to explore simply in designing paths for the sounds to travel from group to group, without complicating things with a choreography of boats.

Many of the words used in the text I invented for their sonic properties. The title derives from the onomatopoeic Samoan words which describes a speeding car's swoosh - saoasaoa.

Annea Lockwood

Text note

Text by Annea Lockwood