A Swift Radiant Morning

Score title

A Swift Radiant Morning


Rhian Samuel

More about the composer



Program note

Charles Hamilton Sorley (1895–1915) was killed at the Battle of Loos in WWI; is ouevre is quite small and ranges from poems he wrote at school (Marlborough College) to those written on the battlefield. Together with a cache of letters they reveal a remarkable and alluring young man, mature beyond his years, whose so-early death was an immense loss. The texts for this song-set show the range of Sorley's thought, from the meditative poems of his schooldays and his walks in the Wiltshire Downs to those written when death loomed. His life at the front is portrayed in (2) 'The Sounds of War,' the text taken from a letter home; in (3) 'The Signpost,' he addresses death itself, while (4) 'In Memoriam,' his last poem, is dedicated to a friend, Sidney Clayton Woodruffe, who died in battle shortly before him. The first and last poems of the set, 'Rooks' and 'Earth's King,' offer some vision of Sorley the boy and man; above all, 'Earth's King' is presented here as a celebration of Sorley's life and a testament to the endurance of his legacy. 'A Swift Radiant Morning' was commissioned by the Three Choirs Festival, Hereford, 2015, for a first performance by Roderick Williams and Susie Allan at Holy Trinity Church, Hereford, on 25 July 2015.