Come lovely and soothing death
for choir SSAATTBB

James Rolfe
James Rolfe
Composition Date: 2000
Duration: 00:04:00
Genre: Choral (9 + Voices), A Capella


Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 1 x Mixed chorus
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Programme Note:
This setting is a kind of sketch for my piano piece Lilacs, which is based on parts of When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd, an elegy on the death of Abraham Lincoln. As a wound-dresser in the American Civil War, Whitman became intimate with death in its most agonizing and futile guise, so this sensual and wholly accepting ode is to me a genuine and wonderfully gracious response.
In keeping with Whitman's intimate tone, the voices are low in tessitura, close or overlapping in range, and moving by little steps. Harmonies are usually very consonant and rooted--dictated in part by the need for clarity when writing for so many voices in the low register. There are echoes of Renaissance vocal writing, say of Byrd or Josquin, as well as passages of more contemporary vintage.

Premiere Information:
8 February 2001, Winspear Centre for Music, Edmonton, AB; University of Alberta Madrigal Singers (both live and broadcast) Conductor: Leonard Ratzlaff


  • Call Number:
  • MV 6000 R746com
  • Genre:
  • Choral (9 + Voices), A Capella
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • August 28, 2006
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 score (8 p.) ; 28 cm.
    8 Pages
    Height: 28 cm
    Width: 22 cm
  • Language Information
  • Language of libretto: English
  • Additional Information:
  • For Choir SSAATTBB

    Includes piano part for rehearsal only.

    Additional People:
    Walt Whitman
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Come Lovely and Soothing Death for Choir Ssaattbb: Score
(downloadable PDF)

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Come lovely and soothing death for choir SSAATTBB by James Rolfe (Score)
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Come lovely and soothing death for choir SSAATTBB
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Copies of this work are available for loan from: Toronto, Montréal, Calgary