For Vocal Ensemble (2017), 5:00 mins.
Night Song was written for Philomel to be premiered at the Brunel Shaft. This large, brick vault, leading to the Rotherhithe Tunnel has a cathedral-like acoustic and Night Song is written with this space in mind. Night Song is performed with the six singers equidistant around the outside of the space. The contrapuntal layers build up rich harmonies, with melodies floating over the top, passed from voice to voice. Night Song should be performed with the six singers equidistant around the outside of the space. The tempo and the length of the pauses should be determined by the acoustic. The voicing of the chords is important. Generally, the lower notes in any chord should be stronger and each chord should be tuned with the space to allow the upper harmonics to resonate. As in polyphony, any moving part should come through the texture. The diminuendos on long notes will help allow the melodic fragments to shine through. The poet Euan Tait writes: "For this text, speciﬁcally designed to be set to music, I wanted a clear narrative: a woman in a threatened and threatening landscape walking home at night in a drought, waiting, longing for rain, which is also an emotional signiﬁer. I wanted clear personalities, the woman's life, her child's life, her mother's life, real and identiﬁable to the listener. I wanted to create a poem with a sense of immense space behind it, the spaces of night, of the family's inner life, and of the coming rains. Dominic's wonderful music feels like the other half of an arch, completing the text so powerfully." Writing about commissioning Night Song, Soprano/Composer & Director of Philomel Janet Oates said, 'I commissioned Dominic to write for my new group 'Philomel' because I had been impressed by his 'On the Beach', a choral work I'd performed with the experimental vocal group The CoMA Singers (part of Contemporary Music for all). The confident writing for voices, the great textures and a perfect sense of spacing and pacing in that work was also displayed in the commissioned piece 'Night Song', an atmospheric and challenging - but very satisfying - piece for 6 sopranos. I had no doubt in asking him to continue to write for Philomel, this time a smaller work 'Rhythm Herd'. Night Song was premiered by Philomel on 2 November 2017.
Audio clip: Live recording