Scored for: SATB & piano (optional bass & drums)
Duration: 23 minutes
Other Info: Songs of Peace is a six movement work including Requiem, Precious Moment, Just as I Am, Ave Verum, A Song of Peace and Into the Stars. Ave Verum, Precious Moment and Requiem movements from Songs of Peace are available to purchase as separates from Boosey and Hawkes as well as the instrumental parts.
Songs of Peace is not a conventional Requiem, but it is a piece about love and loss. Perhaps for that reason it might be appropriate in a memorial context, but should be by no means confined to it: in many ways it is a very ‘life-affirming’ work. It is also designed as a work, which may be performed complete, or as separate movements, or as a selection. I am extremely grateful to Ralph Woodward and the Fairhaven Singers for undertaking to present the first performance of this work.
The overall structure gradually made sense as I worked on individual movements, and I didn’t originally set out to write a six-movement piece. But these various choral songs seems to work very well together and share a certain atmosphere. The themes are peace, eternity, love. It is a work in which I remember my mother, Iris Todd, for all the wonderful things she gave me, especially a lifelong interest in choral music and worship. She adored the 'Ave Verum' text which I set in the fourth movement, and also the hymn 'Just as I am', which she always said she would like at her funeral, and indeed this arrangement in a solo piano version was what I played on that occasion. The voices feel like a natural addition. There is a carol for the second movement, and a soft, ethereal ‘In paradisum’ section at the end, entitled ‘Into the Stars’. The first movement is the opening section of the Requiem Mass, and the 'Song of Peace' (movement 5), like the second movement, is a setting of my own text.