1. Here are the wounds
2. Sweet Mists
SATB (occasional divisi) and Organ.
Score available at https://composersedition.com/alison-willis-war-songs
Also available for Solo Tenor and Piano, please email email@example.com
Chloe Stopa-Hunt was one of the selected poets for JAM's “Writing for Voices” and worked with Alison on the “War Songs”. Both were inspired by the centenary of the start of the First World War, and shared ideas about a Lamb of God/ lambs to the slaughter collocation. As Chloe says “I think that fundamentally I love doubled meanings and the exploitation of ambiguities, which is why those two senses of lamb are so potent and so effective.”
Musically the songs are rooted in tonality, but with harmonic twists that work with the challenging imagery contained within the text to create a sense of unease. The first, “Here are the wounds” opens with dark cluster chords and references to the communion that eventually resolve to the major. “Sweet Mists” begins with a whistle like motif, building to a desperate cry of “Waken” then falls to “Bone white lambs grazing on the fields of Passchendaele”. The final song “Sacrifice” is more tonal in feel, once again referencing the Christian communion, “I give my body and my blood”, reprising elements of earlier themes before resolving to the closing phrase “and the sun sings on and on all night”.
The men that fought in the First World War were real people, our fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers and these songs are intended to honour their suffering and sacrifice.