Conversations II Recordings // Hugh Boyle's Sing No More

Didn't get to our Conversations II concert with New Dublin Voices on July 12th?

No fear! We have recordings of all the premieres of the night.


Composer Hugh Boyle's new piece Sing No More was on the programme.

A number of my works focus on the subject of mortality and
spirituality. The text in this work presents the lament of a deceased character. His soul still attached to his body, he can do nothing but mourn for the lost of earthly comforts.

The work opens with a long held note in the bass part accompanied by a three-note cell passed between the soprano and alto parts. The held note in the bass part is a feature of the work throughout. I wanted to have a drone-type sound in this work and initially I considered using electronics to create this by presenting a tape part to accompany the choir. However, after attending the first workshop with the choir and hearing them I felt that utilising the choir to create the drone would create a much richer sonority. The drone is mostly fixed on the notes A or G#. It is created by the bass singers breathing discreetly, in turn, to create the sound of an extended note. It is not an easy effect to perform, particularly as it causes them to continually expend a lot of breath which can be quite tiring, however, I felt that it would be an interesting effect and would add to the work.

The rest of the work features two different uses of the choir. The first, coming after the introductory passage, sees the tenor voices presenting the main material while the bass part repeats the text “sing no more” using the pitch employed for the drone and the soprano and alto parts presenting held chords as an accompaniment. The second use of the choir sees a monorhythmic texture where the each part presents a different note, or set of notes, and moves in time with the other parts. This short middle section is followed by a return or the drone in the bass part and a development of earlier material.
— Hugh Boyle 2014

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