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Song of Songs from CODEBREAKER

Just published in our Choral Now series…

In 1926, at the age of fifteen, Alan Turing fell in love with Christopher Morcom, a fellow pupil at Sherborne School, bonding with his slightly older contemporary through a shared enthusiasm for mathematics, chemistry and astronomy. Morcom’s early death four years later from bovine tuberculosis deeply affected the future ‘father of modern computer science’, and precious memories of his friend remained with him for the rest of his life. In compiling the text for his cantata Codebreaker, The Alan Turing Story, composer James McCarthy chose Wilfred Owen’s poem ‘Song of Songs’ as a perfect description of the innocence and all-consuming ecstasy of first love, contrasting this enduring aspect of Turing’s inner world with his death by suicide in order to enhance our awareness of the tragedy and paradox of his life story. Now also available as a separate a cappella item independent of Codebreaker, ‘Song of Songs’ should be performed as a forthright outburst of passion that speaks with emotional honesty and directness both to singers and audiences alike.

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