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The Unspoken for SSAATTBB Choir (2017)

Title: The Unspoken

Year: 2017

Instrumentation: SSAATTBB Choir

Duration: 12' 00"


Commissioned by the Glasgow School of Art Choir with support from the backers of the Buy a Bar of Music Campaign.


The Unspoken takes its inspiration from a poem of the same title by Scotland’s first official Scots Makar and Glasgow’s first Poet Laureate, Edwin Morgan. Morgan’s poem reflects upon a number of distinct memories from his life that are characterised by high levels of emotional significance and intimacy that culminate in the final stanza of the poem which acts as the main conceptual catalyst for this choral work. This piece is essentially a love song for everyone in that, although Morgan’s poem refers to his gay relationships, the text does not hint at any gendered characters, which provides an inclusive and all-encompassing definition of love. When asked in an interview with Marshall Walker about the significance of Morgan’s sexuality with regards to how his reader’s should interpret his work, Morgan replied: “I think it’s left to them to read the works as they wish. If they’re interested in the fact itself, then perhaps they could read it in a slightly different way. If they’re not they can go on reading it as they read it before”. The fact the characters in the poem are genderless exemplifies Morgan’s attempt to highlight the diversity and universality of love. This all-encompassing concept becomes most poignant in the poem’s intimate final stanza, which provides the text and focus of this choral work’s narrative. Although some phrases and words from the preceding stanzas are interspersed throughout the piece as the narrative progresses, the final stanza conveys Morgan's attempts to find the right words, as it were. The piece culminates in a wordless expression of joyous emotion, which, for me, conveys my interpretation of Morgan's message, which is that the most vital aspects of love are inexpressible through words alone, if it is indeed expressible at all.

The Unspoken for SSAATTBB Choir (2017)

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