for 2 SATB (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass) choirs, 4 percussion  

Exploring mystical and religious themes of life, death, oblivion, and afterlife, Corpus combines settings of two texts separated by some eight hundred years: the poem Corpse, by British writer Michael Symmons Roberts, which appears partly in the piece’s introduction and partly toward its end, and the Dies Irae hymn, which is divided between the two choirs in various ways—sometimes contrapuntally, sometimes antiphonally or homophonically—throughout the composition. Brief biblical excerpts are also used. Percussion plays an important role, with particular emphasis on the use of skins and metals. The two main settings conclude together, to be followed by a brief and musically very different postlude, its Hebrew text taken from Ecclesiastes 1:7 and its references to Middle Eastern folk music offset by soft, undulating choral textures. The effect is of a transition to a new musical and spiritual place, represented by the image of the all-embracing sea.

Performed by:
Kammerchor Stuttgart
TorQ percussion Quartet
Frieder Bernius (conductor)

Commissioned by Soundstreams with generous support of the Ontario Arts Council