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Randle, Rhiannon: Like a Singing Bird


SSAA unaccompanied (with solos)

Commissioned by the BBC as part of the celebrations for International Women’s Day, and reflecting its theme of hope, Like a Singing Bird was premiered live on Radio 3 on 8 March 2015 by Sarah Connolly and the St Catharine’s Girls’ Choir, conducted by Edward Wickham. The distinctive vocal scoring features a small solo group of sopranos or mezzo-sopranos drawn from the upper-voice ensemble. The anthem is the first of three which are collectively entitled Echoes from Willow Wood, the second also being available in Choral Now. The text, Christina Rossetti’s poem ‘A Birthday’, features in Virginia Woolf’s classic essay A Room of One’s Own, based on lectures delivered at Newnham College and at Randle’s own Cambridge alma mater, Girton, an institution at the forefront of women’s education for two centuries. Inspired by the clock in Girton’s Stanley Library, the ‘chiming rhythms’ which are a driving force within the piece offer a further level of connection. The music moves from quiet anticipation to bright affirmation, the sense of something life-changing heralded by an Advent plainchant quoted in the second half. The final couplet is set apart in a hushed recitative, reflecting, in the composer’s words, ‘the hope I and other young female composers can have as we try to make our mark in what has traditionally been a male domain.’

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This SINGLE/INSPECTION version is available for immediate download as an Adobe PDF file and is sold under the terms of a personal use licence.

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