Two Human Hymns
comprises of settings for six-part choir and organ of two poems by 17th century English poets who are almost exact contemporaries; George Herbert and Henry King.
The music for the choir is mostly composed in simple songlike shapes, which are little hymns. The texts, though clearly relate to Christian beliefs, could be more widely applicable to all human experience, which is why they have called them 'Human Hymns'.
Thus, Love Bade Me Welcome (G.Herbert), whilst obviously a Christian allegory, can be read as a gently hypnotic love song, and it is attempted to capture something of this atmosphere in the setting. Like to the Falling of a Star (H.King), although it mentions no God, could be a Calvinist sermon, capping its lovely account of the wonders of nature with an almost operatically sinister denouement. In the first half of the piece, the music bubbles upwards, fresh and optimistic; in the second half, like all those doomed sinners, it is going down, down, down.
The first performance was given by University of Aberdeen Chapel Choir, on 22nd October 1995. Duration: c.7 minutes.