Songs of Stone

Work details

TitleSongs of Stone
ForcesUnaccompanied upper voice choir (div. up to SSSAAA)
DifficultyIntermediate – appropriate for youth choirs
Commissioned byRoyal Liverpool Philharmonic
DedicationJeffrey Lawton
TextBiblical (Psalms 122 & 127, Laudes Regiae) & Ian McMillan
PublisherUniversal Edition

“Songs of Stone”, commissioned by Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, is an exciting celebration of Liverpool’s Anglican and Metropolitan Cathedrals, and Hope Street which links them. It is scored for unaccompanied upper-voice choir, and comprises of three movements featuring texts from Psalm 122 & 127, poet Ian McMillan and the Laudes Regiae.

Sandstone, the first movement, starts the journey at the Anglican Cathedral, and acts as a soft introduction to what is to come. The movement features important biblical texts (Psalms 122 and 127) from the Anglican tradition, and leads on nicely to the next movement.

Hope Street starts with the use of quiet multiphonics, reflecting on the many cultures which call Liverpool home. From these multiphonics emerges an Alto soloist, who introduces us to the wonder that is this significant road. From there, the music takes off with a constant motor rhythm as we move through the bustling heart of the city, until we reach the Metropolitan cathedral, where the Alto soloist concludes the journey.

Movement 3 concludes the journey climactically with a text taken from Laudes Regiae, originally used for the laying of the foundation stone at the site of the Metropolitan Cathedral. It features several Soprano solos, accompanied by ‘bell-like’ clusters, with much of its melodic content drawn from plainchant.