Created for Lewisham Choral Society as part of the Adopt-a-Composer scheme (SPNM, PRS, & Making Music) Happiness is a contemplation on the relationship between humans and the environment. The 1st movement features a verse from the 16th-century apothecary Nostrodamus, which appears to foresee a destructive polluting of the natural world. Amid ‘gusts’ of whispering, the words are sung in short phrases, moving like waves. The text for the 2nd and 3rd movements comes from a recorded conversation with primary-school children from Lewisham on our relationship with the environment. In the second movement, the children’s increasingly pessimistic comments are expressed through ever more urgent whispering, singing and different types of speech; in the middle of this appears the casual query ‘what was the question again?’, which provides the title for this movement. A climactic unison gives way to a calmer, meditative third movement in which the children’s more optimistic and aspirational thoughts are revealed. These include a comment from one girl who, thinking about what the future holds for our planet, hoped simply for ‘a place that’s filled with happiness’.
Full consent is given to the live performance of this work on the condition that the composer is informed beforehand [contact page at www.robertpercy.co.uk] and is credited as the composer. The recording and/or broadcasting of this work requires further permission from the composer.