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Medium difficulty
SSAATTBB a cappella choir

Love is a universal feeling, and music is the universal language through which to express it. The loss of a loved one is something we all experience, whether it be a lover, a relative, a parent or a true friend. So many madrigals are expressions of love or grief, as are most pop songs, folk tunes, jazz standards, and other genres. It’s interesting to note that John Bennet was inspired by John Downland’s “Flow my Tears” when he wrote his madrigal for four voices, “Weep O Mine Eyes,” and the same text inspired John Wilbye to write one for three voices as well. Centuries later, composers and musicians continue inspire one another when expressing these universal feelings of love and sadness, across many different kinds of musical styles and genres.

The original text is truly inspiring. Words such as “to swell so high that I may drown me in you” are rich with imagery; a phrase that is as powerful as it is ironic, describing both love and death simultaneously in one beautiful sentence. I’ve endeavored to capture melancholy and irony in this work for 8 voices. Additionally, I’ve tried to add a sense of mystery and gravitas as a personal expression of my own unrequited love. The work opens with a sparse texture featuring two solo sopranos, gradually becoming richer and darker in color as the music unfolds. Naturally, the music swells during the words to swell so high, but as it falls (or “drowns”), jazz harmonies offer intimacy and warmth, a kind of musical escapism from the pains of love and loss, before returning the mystery of the opening.