for mixed voices (SATB div) & organ
Text: English (Siegfried Sassoon)
Duration: c 6 minutes'
Use: War commemoration, Remembrance
Everyone Sang was written for a wedding blessing at Wells Cathedral on 26th May 2007. The choir on that occasion featured many singers from the operatic world and this, combined with the emotional nature of the occasion, explains something of its ecstatic style. The poem is truly beautiful and offers much opportunity for word-setting. Opening in unison, the musical material follows the wonderful images of the poem leading to a shattering climax for 'everyone's voice was suddenly lifted'. A warm chord emerges for the 'setting sun' before the mood darkens slightly for the following lines before the final pages of profound peace; 'the singing will never be done' is repeated until almost inaudible and finally left hanging in space.
An excellent addition to the remembrance and war commemoration repertoire for use in concert hall or church, especially during the centenary commemorations of the First World War.
Recommended recording: Flame Celestial: Choral Music by David Bednall, Volume II (Regent Records, REGCD320) by Wells Cathedral Choir and Jonathan Vaughn (organ), directed by Matthew Owens.
Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on – on – and out of sight.
Everyone’s voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away ... O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.
Siegfried Sassoon (1886–1967)
© Copyright Siegfried Sassoon, used by kind permission of the Estate of George Sassoon
David Bednall has a growing reputation as one of the leading choral composers of his generation, and studied for a PhD in Composition with Professor John Pickard at the University of Bristol. He has an extensive freelance playing and conducting career, and is Organist of The University of Bristol, Sub Organist at Bristol Cathedral, and conducts The University Singers. He studied with Dr Naji Hakim and David Briggs and was Assistant Organist at Wells Cathedral. The first recording of his work, Hail, gladdening light, was a Gramophone Editor’s Choice, and the CD Flame Celestial received a Gramophone Recommendation. The recording of his Requiem received similar accolades. A number of his works have been broadcast on radio, and recent work has included Missa Sancti Pauli for St Paul’s Cathedral, and Welcome All Wonders for The Queen’s College, Oxford. The latter is his largest work to date and the recording on Signum has garnered superb international critical acclaim.