for 8 choirs (each Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass)  

Perhaps no part of the Bible is more pessimistic than Ecclesiastes, a book whose very inclusion in the Old Testament has been hotly debated. “Yet its pessimism rings true,” says Rolfe, “and its lyrical strains about the endless rounds of existence can be as comforting as they are bitter. The assertion that ‘there is nothing new under the sun’ is also comfortingly ironic for a twenty-first-century composer who was schooled as a proper twentieth-century avant-gardist.” Rolfe’s text, condensed and compiled from several different translations, comes from the first chapter of Ecclesiastes. His setting, with its multiplicity of voices, provides a large acoustic space in which to explore the text’s dimensions. Though the harmonies are generally consonant and rooted, they are often coloured by simultaneous major and minor thirds, the “false relation” favoured by English composers of the Renaissance. 

Performed by:
University Voices
Robert Sund, conductor