Body of Water

for Tenor, Choir, Brass Quintet and Organ

16 Mins
T Solo-SATB Chorus-2Tpt-Hn-Tbn-Tba-Org


With a text by writer Simon Christmas, Body of Water was commissioned by JAM (John Armitage Memorial) and premiered in 2012 by Andrew Dickinson (tenor), the choir of Selwyn College Cambridge and Onyx Brass conducted by Nicholas Cleobury.

Body of Water is the outcome of a unique collaboration. In August 2011, JAM Trustee, Charles Cochrane swam the Dardanelles, a busy shipping lane with strong currents, to raise money for the commission of our piece. Moments after his valiant crossing, Charles noted down his thoughts and feelings about the experience, revisiting and expanding them a few weeks later. These notes, and further conversations with Charles, were the starting point for our piece - both inspired and funded by Charles’ solitary swim.

Reading Charles’ notes, and talking to him later, we were struck by the way in which the familiar shapes and structures of memory only emerge over time. Experience itself has a very different quality, one of complete immersion. Moreover, there are resonances between this relationship between memory and experience on the one hand, and the relationship between text and music on the other.

Body of Water sets out to explore these relationships, peeling off layers of memory, narrative and text in an effort to rediscover the immediacy of experience. The piece opens with the tenor struggling to remember a time that he swam - “What was it really like?” - but mindful that what he remembers is not what he experienced. As he works his way back to the reality of the moment, it is in the choir and ensemble that we hear the resurgent ‘voices’ of the body and water that actually constituted the original act of swimming: and only when the ‘I’ of the tenor has disappeared altogether can we reimmerse ourselves in the moment.

Body of Water was a collaboration with writer Simon Christmas, who wrote the final text.


Title Part / Version Stock Price   
Body of Water Vocal Score Print on Demand £6.95 0
Body of Water Full Score Print on Demand £13.95 0
Body of Water Set of Parts Print on Demand £34.95 0

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