for soprano and piano (1988)
duration: 7’
text by Ross Baglin
GRT • 004

score available from
Australian Music Centre

program note
Angelus was written in 1988 to text by Australian poet, Ross Baglin, with whom the composer frequently collaborates. The text refers back in time to the story of a woman's illicit pregnancy and ambiguous implications of this within the society of her time. This story is framed by three prayers (sung in Latin) appealing to the mother of God. The musical interpretation of this text is at turns gentle or disturbing, with frequent modal modulations and rhythmic changes but culminating in a steady mantra–like ostinato.

Angelus Domini The angel of the Lord
Nuntiavit Mariae
Announced to Mary
E fa la lingua
And give my tongue
Mea tanto possente
Such power

Incensed with shaking hands
Thin wicks erode the tallow
Strict wood is sudden woken
And whispers “flesh is hollow”

Bent double in the bulbous shroud
Brother Michael fears his sin
The windows frame a leaden Christ
Allowing the sunlight in

Angelus Domini
Nuntiavit Mariae
E fa la lingua
Mea tanto possente

Spread fingers in the dew
Reach out for Michael’s thought
A girl that Michael knew
One Summer in Connaught

Cries whispers in a shed
One morning white and raw
A rosary on a child’s soul
Too soon beneath the straw

Mater dei
The mother of God
Ora pro nobis
Pray for us
E fa la lingua
And give my tongue
Mea summa possente
Such great power