James Rolfe
James Rolfe
Composition Date: 2010
Duration: 00:18:00
Genre: Three Voices, With Chamber Ensemble, Woodwind(s) / Percussion, Keyboard / Plectral String / String Bowed


Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 1 x Recorder
  • 1 x Percussion
  • 1 x Lute
  • 1 x Organ
  • 1 x Soprano
  • 1 x Mezzo Soprano
  • 1 x Violin
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Programme Note:
Music by James Rolfe, with words by Hildegard von Bingen (Germany, 1098-1179), Anna Chatterton (Canada, b. 1975), and Antonio Scandello (Italy-Germany, 1517-1580)

Breathe (2010) weaves together the words of German composers Hildegard von Bingen and Antonio Scandello with those of Toronto writer Anna Chatterton. Each part of the piece focuses on one of the four elements—air, fire, water, and earth—which are strongly present in the poetry. Water runs through the lyrical, flowing opening ("love overflows..."); air follows, quick and restless (breathing, sighing, rising, falling); then fire and earth, in warm, close intervals ("Most noble greenness, rooted in the sun, you shine bright and serene..."). These threads weave the piece together, and serve as metaphors for human closeness, desire, love, spirit—invisible threads that sustain us, that connect us to each other and to the divine.

Breathe was commissioned by Soundstreams Canada (Lawrence Cherney, Artistic Director) for Trio Mediaeval and the Toronto Consort, with the assistance of The Canada Council for the Arts and The Ontario Arts Council.

Premiere Information:
23 / 03 / 2011
St. Anne's Church, Toronto

Presented by Soundstreams Canada, with Trio Mediaeval (Norway) and The Toronto Consort
Conductor: David Fallis


  • Call Number:
  • MV 3257 R746br
  • Genre:
  • Three Voices, With Chamber Ensemble, Woodwind(s) / Percussion, Keyboard / Plectral String / String Bowed
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • August 31, 2012
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 score (38 p.) ;
    38 Pages
    Height: 28 cm
    Width: 22 cm
    Parts page count: 43
    5 parts ([43] p.) ;
    Height: 28 cm
    Width: 22 cm
  • Language Information
  • Language of libretto: English
  • Additional Information:
  • Voices (2 soprani, mezzo soprano), 5 early instruments (Recorder, Lute, Violin, Percussion, Chamber organ). May also be played on equivalent modern instruments.
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Available Products for this piece:

TitleDetailsPriceAdd this Product
Breathe: Score
(downloadable PDF)
Breathe: Score and Parts
Score and Parts
(downloadable PDF)
Breathe by James Rolfe (Score)
Printed on demand
Breathe by James Rolfe (Score and Parts)
Printed on demand
BreatheBreatheCD $13.98
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Copies of this work are available for loan from: Toronto, Montréal, Calgary, Vancouver