A Buried Flame

Length: 25'
Price: £4.00

Download sample score: ABuriedFlame_opening.pdf

de Singel, Antwerp | ISCM World Music Days 2012, 4th Nov 2012
Wells Cathedral, Somerset, 2nd Apr 2010
Historische huizen Gent – Sint-Pietersabdij; Gravensteen, Gent, 14th Sep 2014

war, slow, reflective, reconciliation, lyrical, fast, conflict

Publisher: University of York Music Press; ISMN: M 57036 171 7

Genre: Chorus a cappella / Chorus plus 1 instrument

Preview by David Wordsworth



Chorus: SSAATBarB


Commissioned by Bath Camerata directed by Nigel Perrin with financial support from the PRS Foundation


Texts from Psalm 69, and three poems from the collection Poems from Guantanamo (University of Iowa Press, 2007)

Used by permission of the book’s editor, Marc Falkoff, and publisher, University of Iowa Press.


The poems in this collection were by current and former detainees at Guantanamo Bay, at time of publication, translated into English.

‘The poems in this collection were written against enormous odds. The men detained in Guantanamo Bay are routinely held in solitary confinement, condemned without a fair trial, many of them tortured. Through it all, some have taken sanctuary in poetry and through [these poems] we hear their voices and glimpse their innermost feelings. Their poems are a remarkable and moving testament to the power of the human spirit.’

Kate Allen, Director, Amnesty International UK.


Composer’s note

I was struck by the modernity of these poems and their ‘general concern with physical incarceration and oppression rather than with Islam’ [as Flagg Miller notes in an introduction to the collection]. At the same time suffering, oppression and imprisonment has unfortunately been a constant mark of human experience throughout the ages, as seen in Psalm 69, to take an example from Christian tradition.

The kernel of this new composition is a recognition, prompted by this collection of poems, that the ‘war on terror’ has undoubtedly resulted in detention without trial and further injustices; the music exists as a response to the poetry while including the notion that any hope for the future must reside in religions and political cultures talking to one another, and seeking reconciliation. [EH].


PART 1: Psalm 69

PART 2: ‘Ode To The Sea’ by Ibrahim Al Rubaish

PART 3: ‘Two Fragments’ by Shaikh Abdurraheem Muslim Dost

PART 4: ‘Homeward Bound’ by Moazzam Begg



A Buried Flame - Texts

PART 1: Psalm 69 – Page 1

Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul.

I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.

I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.

They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away.

O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.


When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach.


Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.


Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.


The texts for Parts 2, 3 and 4 may be found in 'Poems from Guantanamo' ed. Marc Falkoff, [c] University of Iowa Press, 2007


Recording made at St Silas, Kentish Town, 8 June 2011

Fleur Bray (S), Bridget Kerrison (S), Charlotte Shorthouse (Ms), Lucy Williams (Ms),  William Morgan (T), Michael Bunting (B)

Conducted by John Hancorn

Recorded by Classical Recording Co., Producer Simon Weir, Engineer Morgan Roberts

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