The Word

Giles SwayneGZ107
Solo flute | SATB | Duration: 3½ minutes

Commissioned by Jack and Linda Hoeschler of St. Paul, Minnesota for the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge. First performed on 24th September 2010 at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota by the choir of Clare College, Cambridge under Timothy Brown, with Nicholas Mogg (flute). A companion piece for Hubbub, this second setting of a poem by Kevin Crossley-Holland celebrates the need for calm contemplative moments of the spirit.

Score & flute part:

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Flute part only:

God is gone up

Giles SwayneGZ126
3 solo sopranos (from the choir), alto, tenor & bass soli (from the choir), SSATB choir, organ | Duration: 7 minutess

God is gone up – a song for the Ascension – was commissioned by the choir of Clare College, Cambridge and had its first concert performance at the Spitalfields Festival, London  on June 20th 2014. It is dedicated to the memory of John Tavener.


In this vivid setting of the Ascension scene, Jesus’ apostles (choir) have gloomily watched him vanish into the sky, accompanied by a fanfare which gradually fades to silence. The distant voices of angels (three solo sopranos placed high on a gallery and far from the choir) are heard from heaven, singing Jesus’ name in Greek. Two angelic figures (alto, tenor and bass soli, singing as one) appear beside them and ask (in Latin) why they are staring up at the sky: “Viri Galilaei, quid admiramini?”.  The apostles express their sorrow at the departure of Jesus. The angelic visitors, using the Greek words of a hymn quoted by St Paul, explain Jesus’ incarnation, importance to mankind, and ascension in glory.  The apostles repeat (in English) each line after the angels, and gradually regain their spirits. The tempo increases until it is twice the speed of the opening – at which point the fanfare returns, but this time as the counterpoint to a triumphant “Allêlouïa” sung by all voices. Over the top of this, the three heavenly sopranos sing the Greek words of the ancient acrostic used as a symbol by early Christians:  “Iêsous Christos Theou Huios Sôtêr” (Jesus saviour, anointed son of God), the initial letters of which spell the Greek word for fish.

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Laulu laululle

Giles SwayneGZ114
16-part choir a cappella | Duration: 7 minutes

First performed in Helsinki on March 19th 2011 by the Helsinki Chamber Choir conducted by Tim Brown, who commissioned it. A recording of this performance can be found on YouTube. The words are taken from Runo 41 of The Kalevala, and are set in Finnish.

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