Autumn Chorale

Nesbit, Edward

About the work

Autumn Chorale was written in response to a commission from CoMA to write a piece exploring the climate crisis that currently threatens our existence.  I was initially uncertain as to how to approach this brief, wrestling with the age-old question of how and to what extent instrumental music can be ‘about’ anything at all.  I was however keen to make the link a tangible one, and one that was written into the notes in some sense, rather than being simply (and arbitrarily?) asserted by the title and the programme note.

I decided to make this connection by separating the performers spatially.  Throughout the history of Western Art Music, from the cowbells of Mahler’s 6th Symphony to the horn calls of Julian Anderson’s Imagin’d Corners spatial effects have been used to simulate the vast natural landscapes.  In Autumn Chorale, four soloists are placed off-stage around the concert hall and play a variety of hunting calls to evoke the natural landscape. Onstage the rest of the ensemble play a melancholy chorale, drawing on the religious and therefore funereal connotations of the chorale genre, and mourning a world that seems to be disappearing before our eyes.


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score & parts


Sample score



5m 00s




Flexible Ensemble
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