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urban breakdown

For unaccompanied mixed choir

SATB with divisi and Soprano solo

c. 6'30"


Written for Ad Solem Chamber Choir, this piece is formed out of three poems written by Eli Carvajal: ‘urban breakdown’, ‘Down by the brook’, and ‘Here I am again’.


The two outer poems talk of the business of inner city life, but have a sense of yearning for more peaceful, countryside scenes, while the middle poem evokes a rural reverie of times past. I have tried to mirror this escape from hectic life in the music.


The piece begins with cars passing in the dead of night; this develops gradually into the sound of sirens with the uncertainty of the bustling streets reflected in the lopsided rhythms. As the sirens fade, the protagonist sinks into a dream of calmer pastures. After the distant sentiments of ‘Down by the brook’ pass, the protagonist is then forced back to reality by the returning sound of sirens only to realise their isolation: ‘a carriage crash through sunsets gold, a passenger alone…’

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