Jonathan Pitkin

THE HOLY ROOM for mixed voices, organ and trumpet (2001)

Duration: 7 mins
Click here to see the SCORE.

The Holy Room brings together two ‘hymns to my God’, by John Donne and Henry Wotton, written when the authors were in ill health and contemplating what might lie ahead of them if they were not to recover. Donne’s first verse, which speaks of ‘tuning the instrument’ in preparation for joining the ‘choir of saints for evermore’, is set as a kind of prelude for alto and tenor soloists; it runs straight into a setting of Wotton’s invocation, in which a certain mysterious listlessness builds gradually towards a triumphant serenity. The solo trumpet, which has intertwined with the vocal lines throughout, eventually breaks free at the piece’s harmonic climax, leaving the final few bars to drift to a halt in the organ.

Audio extract:

(Performers: Cardiff University Contemporary Music Group / Robert Fokkens)