So gently darkness falls

for Treble, Choir and Orchestra

12 Mins


Commissioned to celebrate the 1100th Anniversary of Warwick School and premiered by the Warwick School Chamber Orchestra and Choir at the Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, on the 14th March, 2014. The treble soloist was Jonathan Vining. The work is a setting of part of Old Warwickian John Masefield’s Autumn, aligning Warwick School’s Anniversary with the centenary of the start of the First World War.

So gently darkness falls is conceived for solo treble, choir and orchestra and sets part of August 1914 by the Poet Laureate John Masefield, who was a student at Warwick School in 1888-91.

The first section of Masefield's poem, evoking a pastoral scene at dusk on the eve of the Great War, is treated as a choral Nocturne with Masefield's distilled war imagery finding equivalence in the music's buried allusions to bugle calls and distant thunder. The longer second section of Masefield's poem is treated as a song without words in which the chorus falls silent - an orchestral Elegy, haunted by the sound of a solo cornet.

From August 1914 by John Masefield


How still this quiet cornfield is tonight!

By an intenser glow the evening falls,

Bringing, not darkness, but a deeper light;

Among the stooks a partridge covey calls.


The windows glitter on the distant hill;

Beyond the hedge the sheep-bells in the fold

Stumble on sudden music and are still;

The forlorn pinewoods droop above the wold.


An endless quiet valley reaches out

Past the blue hills into the evening sky;

Over the stubble, cawing, goes a rout

Of rooks from harvest, flagging as they fly.


So beautiful it is, I never saw

So great a beauty on these English fields,

Touched by the twilight's coming into awe,

Ripe to the soul and rich with summer's yields.


Title Part / Version Stock Price   
So gently darkness falls Vocal Score In Stock £4.50 24

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