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David Heyes

Humphrey Clucas: Serenade for soprano & double bass quartet

Humphrey Clucas: Serenade for soprano & double bass quartet

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About the Composition

Words by William Shakespeare (The Merchant of Venice)

'Serenade' is about music; the words are Shakespearean. The two verses of the song 'O mistress mine' act as book-ends to some words from The Merchant of Venice. These tell of the (to us) silent but imagined music of the spheres, and then, by contrast, of 'the man that hath no music in his soul'; two of the four double basses in this latter section are fixed on a monotone, where they are joined, eventually, by the singer. A repeat of the heavenly-music section, done as a vocalise, leads into the more earth-bound, but still musical, second verse of the song.' [Humphrey Clucas]

'Serenade' was commissioned by David Heyes for Bass-Fest 2002 and was premiered at Downe House School (Newbury, Berkshire, UK) on 6 April 2002 by Sarah Poole (soprano) with an international double bass quartet featuring Thierry Barbé (France), Mette Hanskov (Denmark), David Heyes (UK) and Teppo Hauta-aho (Finland).

About the Composer

Humphrey Clucas was born in 1941 and read English at King's College, Cambridge, where he was also a Choral Scholar. Having taught English for twenty-seven years, he subsequently became a Lay Vicar at Westminster Abbey but is now retired.

As a composer, he is self-taught, and although he is well-known for a set of Anglican Responses written as an undergraduate, almost all his serious music has been written over the last twenty-five years. He has a growing reputation as a choral composer and has produced an impressive and steady stream of choral works, both sacred and secular, alongside much instrumental music.

He has written works for Cathedrals in Chichester, Guildford, Salisbury and Winchester, as well as for King's College, Cambridge, Southwell Minster and Westminster Abbey.

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