Commissioned by the B' nai B'rith Festival

  • Soprano/hurdy-gurdy (or other drone instrument)
  • Mezzo-soprano, hurdy-gurdy
  • 10 min

Programme Note

The text of SONG is taken from the Song of Solomon, and is performed without a break.

One of the many intriguing features of the Song of Solomon is its ambiguity - are the words those of a lover to his or her beloved or of the soul to God? This same ambiguity is present in hymns to Krishna (known as bhajans) which I heard in India. These bhajans were accompanied by various kinds of drone instruments and it is this, which had influenced my decision to have the vocal line accommponied by a quiet, sustained perfect fourth. This interval sounds almost throughout the piece, and the music for the voice is constructed around it. The drone is played on a Symphonie, a type of hurdy-gurdy used extensively in Medieval times.

SONG was commissioned by the 1986 b’nai B’rith Music Festival. It was composed during the early part of 1986 and first perfomed by Andrea Baron in the Wigmore Hall on 13 July 1986.

Brian Elias


Brian Elias: Song