Point 462 511-2
Cadman Requiem (1989)
Cadman Requiem was written in memory of my friend and sound engineer Bill Cadman, who was killed in the Lockerbie air crash in December 1988. It is in five sections and sets only two of the traditional requiem texts – “Kyrie” and “Agnus Dei” – with the addition of “In Paradisum” which, although from the Order of Burial, is set by Fauré and others. The other two sections, which come in between the traditional parts, are Bede’s paraphrase of Caedmon’s Creation-Hymn (in Latin like the three traditional movements) and the original Caedmon poem (in 7th century Northumbrian). The surname “Cadman” is a corruption of “Caedmon”, the first English poet who, though he considered himself to lack any poetic skill, discovered the gift of poetic utterance when “a certain person” appeared to him in a dream.
The piece was written in the spring of 1989 for the four voices of the Hilliard Ensemble accompanied, in the original version, by 2 violas and cello, with optional double bass. Another version was made in the autumn of 1997 for the Hilliard Ensemble to perform with the 6 viol consort Fretwork.
It is dedicated to Bill Cadman.
Adnan Songbook (1996)
The songs in the Adnan Songbook set a group of eight Love Poems by the Lebanese writer Etel Adnan.
Etel left Beirut many years ago and now lives and works in California and Paris. I collaborated with her on Robert Wilson’s large scale operatic project, the CIVIL WarS in 1984, and one aria from that opera to words by Etel, “La Reine de la Mer”, forms part of my cantata Effarene. We worked together, with a number of other performers and designers, in the isolated setting of the Monastery of La Sainte Baume in the mountains above Marseilles in a bitterly cold winter.
The first of the poems to be set was the fifth one which was written for Mary Wiegold and the Composers Ensemble in 1992. The first and second, sung by Sarah Leonard, were written in 1995, commissioned by the BBC for the ‘Songbook’ series as part of their ‘Fairest Isle’ season. The remainder were commissioned by the Almeida and written in 1996 for performance by Valdine Anderson with my ensemble and she gave the first complete performance in July 1996.
The instrumentation is a restrained one using only 6 players but with a combination of instrumental sonorities that characterise my ensemble: 2 violas, cello, double bass, electric guitar (doubling acoustic guitar) and bass clarinet (doubling clarinet). The vocal part, being for a high lyric soprano, was written for Valdine and in all cases the music is written with my own performers in mind. The bass-clarinet, for example, has long been one of my favourite instruments and I enjoy the possibility of its extreme ranges. With the electric guitar I generally prefer it to be played without attack, allowing sustained chords or melodic lines to complement those of the strings, and this grainy combination of electric guitar and low strings was one which I first used with Bill Frisell in After the Requiem (1990). The formation of the strings here provides in effect a kind of string quartet, transposed substantially downwards. For the last three songs the bass-clarinet moves to B flat clarinet, and the electric guitar changes to the classical acoustic instrument.
There are many cross-references between the songs, as there are between the poems, and three of them are extended by instrumental epilogues – viola for numbers 2 and 8, clarinet for number 6. The first two songs are played together without a break.
The Adnan Songbook is dedicated to my friends Jane Quinn and Martin Duignan.
I had a gypsy
with Indian Silver
all over her body
She had a
navel like the morning star
like the meadows
of the sierras
She was a deer
and a trail
leading to an archetypal lake
One day the sun shone on her hair
and the forest caught fire
only the car broke down
by the curve of the road
And we slept on a hospital bed to rise again
like the Indian Rainbow
The sun came in
The pain went out
a window on the lone mountain
a tree decrucified
2000 years of suffering redeemed
in a woman’s two-days’ flight
from paradise to paradise
we went with no mule
but with our hands and our eyes.
Epilogue from Wonderlawn (1994)
In May 1994 I worked with the choreographer Laurie Booth on a full evening piece called Wonderlawn for which I employed a small string group drawn from my ensemble consisting of viola, cello, double bass and electric guitar. In the original dance the final section was accompanied by a version of this Epilogue. I have subsequently modified the instrumentation and made a few other changes to the piece. For live performance I usually add a part for a second viola, as well as a bass-clarinet to reinforce the double bass part. In the published score as well as for the recorded version I include two additional cellos. The piece begins with a simple series of harmonies played as guitar arpeggios sustained by the bowed strings. It then evolves into an extended melody, a kind of song-without-words, for the solo viola supported by occasional duet material for the cello. The music was written specifically for the qualities which my own players bring to this music, particularly the expressive playing of my viola player Bill Hawkes.
The piece is dedicated to my daughters Ziella and Orlanda, both of whom are cellists and both of whom have played this piece with me on many occasions.
Gavin Bryars with his daughters Ziella and Orlanda.
Text: Bryars: Cadman Requiem
Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Exaudi orationem meam, ad te omnis caro veniet.
Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison
Eternal rest grant them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
O Lord, hear my prayer, all flesh shall come to thee.
Lord have mercy; Christ have mercy.
II Caedmon Paraphrase (Bede) (tenor solo)
Nunc laudare debemus auctorem regni caelestis, potentiam Creatoris et consilium illius, facta Patris gloriae. Quomodo ille, cum sit aeternus Deus, omnium miraculorum auctor extitit, qui primo filiis hominum caelum pro culmine tecti, dehinc terram custos humani generis omnipotens creavit.
Praise we now the maker of Heaven’s fabric, the majesty of His might and His mind’s wisdom, work of the world-warden, worker of all wonders, how the Lord of Glory, first made Heaven for the children of men as a roof and shelter, then he made middle earth to be their mansion.
III Agnus Dei
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona eis requiem.
Lux aeterna luceat eis, cum sanctis tuis in aeternum quia pius est.
Requiem aeterna dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, give them rest.
Let perpetual light shine upon them, together with thy Saints, for thou art good.
Eternal rest grant them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
IV Caedmon’s “Creation Hymn” (baritone solo)
Nu scylun hergan hefaenricaes uard,
metudaes mecti end his mogdedanc,
uerc wuldurfadur sue he wundra gihwaes,
eci dryctin, or astelidae;
he aerist scop aelda barnum
heben til hrofe, haleg scepen,
tha middungeard moncynnaes uard;
eci dryctin aefter tiadae
firum foldu frea allmectig.
Now let us praise the keeper of the kingdom of heaven, the might of God and the wisdom of his spirit, the work of the Father of glory, in that he, the eternal Lord, ordained the beginning of everything that is wonderful. He, the holy Creator, first created heaven as a roof for the children of men; afterwards the keeper of mankind, the eternal Lord, almighty Governor, fashioned the world, the middle earth, for mortals.
V In Paradisum
In paradisum deducant angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiat te martyres et perducant te in civitatem sanctam. Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere, aeternam habeas requiem.
May the angels receive thee in paradise; at thy coming may the martyrs receive thee into the Holy City. There may the choir of angels receive thee and with Lazarus, once a beggar, may thou have eternal rest.
Hilliard Ensemble, Fretwork consort of viols
Solo Soprano Valdine Anderson
2. Caedmon Paraphrase (Bede)
3. Agnus Dei
4. Caedmon's "Creation Hymn"
5. In Paradisum
6. Song I
7. Song II
8. Song III
9. Song IV
10. Song V
11. Song VI
12. Song VII
13. Song VIII