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Songs & instrumentals
A selection of the songs from the debut album are available on this page and on the Quatrapuntal YouTube channel, to show the range of styles, moods and influences that the music covers.
The lyrics are taken from John Greenleaf Whittier's substantial poem of the same name, selecting certain stanzas which put across the meaning. The poem tells of returning home during a snowstorm, and the song was written in 2017 when the Isle of Wight was covered in snow. The music depicts the bleak depths of winter and the storm but also the stark beauty of the snow covered landscape. It is the most adventurous and complex of the songs, with a number of melodies which are first laid out then developed throughout the song. It contains a number of unexpected harmonic twists and key changes, inspired by early 20th century atonal music by Alban Berg and others. Instruments are: soprano, mandora, cor anglais and cello.
This song is to a poem by 20th century American poet Louise Townsend Nicholl:
One by one upon my shore, the little waves are laid,
Each one a new and perfect thing, which the sea has made.
From that which is forever old, they come, forever young,
The latest, faintest echoes of the song the sea has sung.
They echo it in whispers. I listen ceaselessly,
For fear the echoes die away and I should hear the sea.
Living on an island, we are surrounded by the sea so this short poem was very appropriate. The first section was inspired by the minimalism of Steve Reich and features repeating patterns which are brought in gradually then displaced in time, until all 3 instruments are playing the same pattern but staggered. The rest of the song features variations of these patterns and interplay between the cello and cor anglais. The second half of the song has almost the same vocal melody as the first half, but everything around it changes completely, a technique inspired by a Scottish folk song. Instruments are: soprano, mandora, cello, cor anglais & melodica.
This was originally an instrumental from around 2004, but it was revised with a vocal part added in 2018. The words are about a lazy summer day in the garden, where your mind wanders off into a daydream about flying away with the birds high above. The music reflects this, with it's laid back tempo and major key. Instruments are: soprano, mandora, cello and melodica.
SOMEWHERE OVER THE
This is an arrangement of the well known song in typical Quatrapuntal style. The vocal melody is similar to the original musical version, also including the verses which curiously aren't used in the famous Judy Garland film version of this song. The instrumental parts are entirely different however, with a new intro and various interludes. The cello and melodica often harmonise or interweave with each other. Instruments are: soprano, mandora, cello & melodica.
This song was written in 2002, originally to a Portuguese poem but revised and rewritten in English in 2018. The song features the Portuguese guitar, which weaves around the long, sustained vocal melodies. The words were inspired by an imagined daybreak over Culver Cliff on the Isle of Wight; the healing and rebirth of the new day and the dawn chorus. The sun battles with dark clouds later on but ultimately triumphs. Instruments are: soprano, Portuguese guitar, classical guitar, melodica & acoustic bass.
The Portuguese word 'saudade' is difficult to translate accurately, but refers to a feeling of intense longing for something or someone. Historically many Portuguese men went to find work abroad, leaving their families behind, and the concept of saudade became part of the culture. This instrumental is therefore melancholy, featuring an equal interplay of mandora, cor anglais and cello. The opening melody returns several times, each time developed in a different way.