conductor · composer
rory wainwright johnston
For unaccompanied mixed choir
SSAATTBB and mezzo-soprano solo
Summoning Dance is a vocalise that paints the picture of the struggling water-nymph and her dance to bring back the river. It is a textless response to the poem Dunt by Alice Oswald
My first thoughts about the poem extract came by focussing on the act the nymph is performing, a sort of ritualistic dance – like a rain dance – to summon this river. I saw a small nymph, at first struggling to get herself going, gradually starting to dart around, buzzing here and there on her wings. The soloist represents the nymph and the choir the dry landscape that will be returned to its luscious, original state. The journey through the piece is driven by timbre and lead by the soloist, starting unpitched and percussive, unravelling gradually into voiced and covered tones, and finally blossoming into open vowels as the nymph is successful in her task. This climax signals the end of the piece and gradually the nymph falls back into her slumber, to be awakened again only when needed.