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When We Awake

for unaccompanied SATB choir (20-part)


Composed summer 2020 during covid-19 lockdown and based on a true story, this setting started out as a revision of Doorkeeper but quickly became a totally new work, with the revision of Doorkeeper being shelved. I wanted to express the notion of compassion and mutual understanding in a new way.


I hope you'll find it a sensitive and moving portrayal of the final moments in the day of a sensitive young person's life: a moment of reflection and realisation, a prayer, and lastly a descent into a vision filled dream.

The musical structure is accordingly divided into three short but distinct sections:


- Reflection

- Prayer

- The Dream


and ends where it starts, with a call for a new dawn of togetherness and collective tolerance.

Things to watch out for

The sudden change in texture as the young mind falls into a beautiful, soft sleep of hope. A strange vision of past happiness suspended over a bed of sound  When I wrote the final passage I had in mind the painting Sleep by Salvador Dali, where a huge form is suspended asleep on slender wooden stilts.


A setting of original words interleaving quotations from the hymn Sun of my soul (John Keble, 1820) and a phrase from Edgar Allan Poe's Dreams (1849)



Together, together, one day, one day,

Come, come, come close, come near,


Come near and bless us when we wake,

Ere through the world our way we take,


Be my last thought,

How sweet to rest,

How sweet to rest,

On my Lord's breast,


When I withdrew to my room,

To sleep,

To melt away,

I looked at myself,

And I wept like a child,

I cried to him,

I wept on his sweet breast,

As a girl may,

As a boy must not,



I slept on his sweet breast,

And I prayed,

"Make me new,

I'll stay until the morn

When I wake, make me new."


The Dream

Dreaming, dreaming,

I have been happy,

Tho' in a dream,

Dreaming, dreaming,

We were together,

Tho' in a dream,

Tomorrow, together,

In the morning,


Dreaming, dreaming.


5 Sopranos, 5 Altos, 6 Tenors, 4 Basses


7  minutes


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