• Nico Muhly
  • No Resting Place (2022)

  • St. Rose Music Publishing (World)

Commissioned by the Tallis Scholars. The first performance was given by the Tallis Scholars, conducted by Peter Philips, on 29 September 2022 at Cadogan Hall, London. This commission was made possible by the generous support of David Keltner.

Commissioner exclusivity applies


Unavailable for performance.

  • SSSSAATTBarB
  • SSSSAATTBarB
  • 25 min
  • Andrea Levy, David Lammy, Jeremiah, Judy Griffiths and Rosemarie Mallett
  • English, Latin

Programme Note

No Resting Place is a setting of Lamentations, verses 1–5, interspersed with short fragments of interviews from the Windrush Generation. The structure is traditional, with long, melismatic settings of the Hebrew letters which announce each verse. With the exception of Migravit Judas, the verses are meditative, with imitative counterpoint occasionally complicating their simplicity. Between each verse, the interviews are presented almost as recitative, but then one word or phrase is restated and taken up by a variation on the preceding Hebrew letter; for instance, the word “grey,” (from the sentence “Just these diaries saying the word grey”) is set with the exact same descending scale as the letter beth. The accusatory “what are you doing here” loudly reprises aleph, and ghimel, with slightly grotesque glissandi smearing each chord change, and is flipped upside down over the text “To lose your job, have your driving licence revoked and lose your right to housing is to systematically lose your identity.” That sentiment echoes the Lamentations: “she dwells now among the nations, but finds no resting place.” Daleth, set to a long, cyclical exploration of a single chord, and the attendant lamentation’s dire, lonely “all her gates are desolate,” finds a rhyme in the fragment “there’s been a loss, a great loss.”

He, set to a violently radiant C major chord, precedes a duet for the altos (“her children have gone away, captives before the foe”), setting up the most prolonged interlude, written by the Venerable Dr Rosemarie Mallett, who, after referencing the slave port at Gorée Island, Senegal, writes, “To remember our history is to lament, to wail.” For me, this summarises the fundamental discomfort and mourning we all confront when reading the Lamentations, and when we read, in the newspaper and in histories both written and oral, about the violent displacement of human beings and confront our own implication and complicity in the same.

– NICO MUHLY

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