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Royal College of Music Junior Department: Composers Showcase Livestream Concert

Inspired by Luke Bedford’s London Sinfonietta Commission In the Voices of the Living, commissioned by the London Sinfonietta. 

Text created and collated by the composers from conversations with older relatives, friends and neighbours and found text on the themes of time and rebirth. 

Alice Knight - EARTHLINGS a song of love 

Scattered on the walls are stencils
Human hands outlined 
Human hands, scattered against a background of red paint 
Scattered, scattered, scattered, scattered. Scattered. 
Friend of space, how are you all? 
Hello from the children of planet Earth 
We are thinking of you all. 
Forty thousand years later 
I raise my own hand to meet one 
It fits perfectly, perfectly 
Hope that you are all well 
We are looking forward to seeing you 
Much love. 

The lyrics of this piece are taken from the greetings sent on the Voyager Golder Record, a Smithsonian article entitled ‘A Journey to the oldest cave paintings in the world’, and the postcards sent to me by my grandparents when I was a baby. 

Asher Saipe - The Universe Sings To Me 

It sings to me. It sings to me.  
The universe, it sings to me,  
The universe, it sings to me.  
You stumble forward into potentiality,  
But you can’t escape your own brutality. 
Don’t waste the time you have, time you have 
The universe, it sings to me, 
The universe, it sings to me. 

The lyrics for this piece came from a poem by Justin Thyme called ‘Time Murmurs’, a quote from a character in a video game and a conversation I had with my mother. 

Chelsea Becker - Sempiternal 

Presence is all we have, yet it often becomes a last priority. Life happens in a series of moments, and any other ideas are just illusions that keep you from it  

- 101 Essays That Will Change The Way You think - Brianna Wiest  

Time passes in unpredictable ways, coaxing and teasing the memory into making associations, providing false anticipations, and making on forget, if only to remember – 

-“Being Time”, Case Studies in Musical Temporality - Bryn Harrison  

Layers of petals, just beautiful.  Roses, red ones, the petals are just like velvet.  Nature has so many possibilities  

- from a conversation with my Grandma, Patricia Burnand (2021) 


Sempiternal, translates as eternal and unchanging; everlasting. This piece uses three different found texts, all relating to the theme of “time and rebirth.” In writing this piece I was very interested in how different cultures view time. British culture views time as being linear, where there is a direct order and schedule involved. However, Buddhist cultures view time cyclically. They believe that our past is part of our present, and we will re live our past, but in a different light.   

The structure of this piece is based upon this fascinating concept, as the first stanza is set in the present talking about moments we live through. The second stanza is moving though the past, with ideas surrounding memory. The last stanza is taken from a conversation with my Grandma, where she speaks about her love of gardening and nature, involving growth and new life, which ultimately is talking about the future. The language in the last stanza is much more pure and intimate, compared to the other two texts, referring to time in a more analytical manner.  

This piece is dedicated to my Grandma; she always brightens up the people surrounding her, just like a delicate flower blooming in the sunlight. 

Tristan McCardel - The Arrow of Time 

O time and the bell have buried the day 
Will the sunflower turn to us tendril and spray. 
O time and the bell have buried they day 
Will the sunflower turn to us tendril and spray. 
Light to light the light is still at the point of the turning world, world, world world world. 
As daylight lengthens and snow drops appear appear and the arrow of time goes forward. 
Before the beginning and after the end all is always now.  
Now, now now now now now now now now now. 

At the beginning of this project we were looking for texts unified by ideas of ‘time’ and ‘rebirth’. After looking at several poems, I came across ‘`Four quartets”; A set of 4 poems written by T.S. Eliot.

Four quartets examine man’s relationship with time, the universe and the divine, which I found very inspirational. I also discussed this idea with my grandparents, to gain their reflections on the passing of time and rebirth.

Aurelia Walker - Eternal 

I believe that this life is not all 
Neither the beginning nor the end 
I believe while I tremble 
I trust while I weep 
Time is a precious thing 
Ah, we don’t appreciate it until it’s gone 
We are such stuff as dreams are made on 
And out little life is sounded with a sleep 

From Charlotte Bronte, Villette; Shakespeare, The Tempest and a conversation with my grandmother. 

Jack Marley - Stop  

Because I could not stop for death he kindly stopped for me 
The carriage held but just ourselves immortality 
I could not stop. 
I could not stop! 
Could not stop!  
Not stop! 
It is important to stop. 
It is important to stop. 
We live in an age of movement! 
It is important to stop. 
We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead if us 
that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.  
It is important to stop. 

Texts from ‘The Chariot’ Emily Dickinson; ‘Calvin and Hobbes’, Bill Watterson and a conversation with Stella Maris 2021. 

I’ve called this piece a ‘scene’ because it takes the form of a dramatic monologue, with the part performed by the tenor being that of a speaker, who undergoes an epiphany throughout the duration of the piece. To start, the music is frantic as the speaker believes they are too busy to even ‘stop for death’. However, after a panicked climax he realises ‘it is important to stop’ and that we must enjoy where we are’. 

Alec Thurbin - Now is Your Time 

I began with a desire to speak with the dead.  
If I never believed that the dead could hear me,  
And if I knew that the dead could not speak,  
I was none the less certain that I could recreate a conversation with them. 
A conversation with them. 
They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. 
Change them yourself. 
They always say time changes things,  
But you actually have to change them yourself. 
Change them yourself.  
Time is now.  
Think briefly about what’s past, about what’s past, and what is to come, to come,  
But live now. 
But live now. 
Now is your time. Now is your time. 
But live now. 
Now is your time. 
Now is your time! 
Now is your time. 

Text from Stephen Greenblatt: Shakespearean Negotiations, a quote from Andy Warhol and a conversation with my grandmother. 

Kathleen Archbold - Accelerating into the Mists of Time 

Life has changed a lot, but so much is constant, there’s this sort of continuity. It’s really just about being human. 

-my mother during a conversation we had looking at family photo albums from a long time ago. 

Though mass extinctions are deadly events, they open up the planet for new forms of life to emerge.

-National Geographic 

In an eternally inflating universe, anything that can happen will happen; in fact it will happen an infinite number of times. 

-Alan Guth -MIT, featured in a Scientific American article about the multiverse and how it could have formed. 

Vincent Ji - The March of Time 

The time I like best is 6am when the snow is six inches deep 
Which is yet to discover ‘cause I’m under the covers 
Fast, fast asleep. 
Sooner or later, time catches up with everyone.  
Be patient.  
Just be patient. 
Keep going and you’ll eventually get there; 
You will eventually get there. 

Text by Roger McGough, Matt Parker ‘Humble Pi’ and a conversation with my mother.