Medium SSAATTBB divisi a cappella, soprano solo
Commissioned by the Choir of Trinity College Cambridge
Hymn of Ancient Lands is a setting of a short text known as “Caedmon’s Hymn.” Caedmon is believed to have been the earliest English poet and his poem (or hymn) is believed to be one of the oldest recorded poems written in the “Old English” dialect of the Anglo-Saxons. The Hymn exists in several vernacular translations, including Old English, Latin and modern English, and the use of these three vernacular versions provided the inspiration for this new musical setting for Trinity College Cambridge. The juxtaposition of these three languages expresses my fascination with viewing history and spirituality through a modern lens, fusing old with new by paying homage to the ancient poem and reflecting its significance with my own musical ideas.
“Caedmon’s Hymn” is a universal song which praises God’s creation of Heaven and Earth, which he calls “Middangeard” (Middle-Earth), a name for inhabited lands in ancient mythology of the time. Extending upon this, Hymn of Ancient Lands expresses adoration of land and nature through a ritualistic musical journey which progresses from sparse and plaintive to energetic and joyful. From a modern point of view, Hymn of Ancient Lands expresses Australia’s passion for traveling overseas and exploring many different lands, combined with a deep sense of belonging and respect for our own unique and magnificent landscape.