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Nocturnes (For Soprano & Piano) 

For Soprano & Piano

Soprano & Piano 


Duration: c. 10'

I  - 'O Sleep'

II - Rests at Night


Please note: The movements in this work can be performed as a song cycle, or individually.  

Programme Note: 

Nocturnes sets two contrasting texts on the the theme of sleep & insomnia. The music emulates this restlessness in the piano textures, where  the first text  sets an extract from a soliloquy in Henry IV. In this setting, the piano creates a gentle rocking motion with the musical idea is constantly shifting within the metre, emulating an anxious tone. The soprano is contemplative and creates a calm atmosphere, often imitating the pianos gestural content. The song then reaches a climax where the music becomes more animated, creating a point of desperation for peace, before fading away on the opening stanza ‘O sleep, O gentle sleep, natures soft nurse’.


The second song complements the expansive first song. Through setting the evocative and illusive poetry of Emily Dickinson, I wanted to explore the resonance of the piano and voice, in order to reflect the poem. The music here is more introspective and meditative, exploring ideas of musical space and harmonic colour in the soprano and piano.  Through using shimmering textures in the upper register of piano, I provide a bed of sound for the voice to articulate this intimate poetry.

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