Sun Moon and Women Shouting

St Georges Church, Aubrey Walk, Campden Hill, London W8, 15th Dec 2010

rhythmic, reflective, polyphonic, lyrical, joy

Genre: Chorus a cappella / Chorus plus 1 instrument

Sun, New Moon and Women Shouting

Music: Ed Hughes

Text: Tom Lowenstein

This work was originally written in 1995 for the solo voices of I Fagiolini (2 Sopranos, Counter-tenor, Tenor, Baritone and Bass) and performed and broadcast by them on numerous occasions both in the UK and abroad.

On 15 December 2010 at 2pm the BBC Singers gave a performance of the work, conducted by Robert Hollingworth, as part of Live Afternoon on 3: A Winter Journey, at St George’s Church, Aubrey Walk Campden Hill, Kensington W8. 

In the North Alaskan wilderness for over fifteen hundred years, the people of Tikigaq evolved an intricate system of rites to accompany their hunting. The poet Tom Lowenstein captured the astonishingly rich detail of ancient life in his book ‘Ancient Life, Sacred Whale’ (Bloomsbury, 1993).

Sun, New Moon and Women Shouting is a setting for six solo voices of a poetic sequence from that book concerning the cataclysmic moment after the winter solstice when the people greet the first sunrise of the year. In this ritual the men are joined by the women on the roofs of their iglus and compete to ‘catch’ the sun. The music reflects the narrative structure of the verse, the arrival of the women with their children, and the recounting of myths by the storytellers.