About the work
Henley’s poem, “Invictus” celebrates a defiant, anarchic statement of freedom, ending in a final positive, conciliatory couplet “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul”. The singer expresses these feelings against a repetitive background of musical figures, sustained by instrumentalists who determine, in part, their own entries and durations until the final section, which is fully notated.
First Performance: Cornelius Cardew Ensemble, Summer School 1998, Bretton Hall
No serious technical problems. All instruments, including voice, are well within amateur ranges. No complex rhythms. Intended for a singer who has good clear head tone, who wants to engage in 20th century music but needs experience in handling non-diatonic intervals and accompaniment. The piece is marked ‘loud, relentless, strident’, in keeping with the poem. A short final section is marked ‘Maestoso’. The musical style is probably somewhere between Bartok and Stravinsky.
Call for Pieces Entry: Cornelius Cardew Ensemble, CoMA Summer School 1998 9