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The Water of Life

for SATB choir and organ

Year:  1994   ·  Duration:  6m

Year:  1994
Duration:  6m


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In my mind, there has always been a clear link between the process of composing music and the flow of water. I set out to write a piece to explore that connection. To locate suitable Biblical texts I turned to a source of considerably more knowledge on such matters than I have ever possessed: my parents. From the texts they suggested I chose four, from Deuteronomy, Isaiah, John, and Revelations, that seemed to resonate with each other. The musical link that binds them is the almost constant flow of triplets in groups of five, the downward motion perhaps suggesting a trickle, or a torrent, and the upward flow, a spring. The Water Of Life was commissioned in 1994 to mark the completion of the new Cathedral building. It was premiered that year by a choir consisting of the then current and former choristers under the direction of Professor Peter Godfrey, with Philip Walsh at the organ.

Commissioned note

Commissioned by the Choir of Wellington Cathedral of St Paul.

Text note

Text: Deuteronomy, Isaiah, John and Revelations.

Performance history

17 Sep 1994: Performed by the City of Dunedin Choir with Raymond White (organ), conducted by Peter Adams

17 May 2014: p: The Water of Life; WCSP 160514

Performed by Richard Apperley and the Choirs of Wellington Cathedral of St Paul, conducted by Michael Stewart.

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