In her poem The night is darkening round me
(written in 1837) Emily Brontë introduces us to a character in the first stanza who remains unidentified throughout the whole of the poem. All we know is that the voice of the poet is bound by a ‘tyrant spell’ which prevents them from moving. Kõrvits was immediately enchanted by this text: ‘It has a power and courage inside it. It does not leave you neutral.’ Originally written for male choir, Kõrvits later rearranged the work for mixed voices. Finding the text ‘dark, but somehow bluesy’, Kõrvits uses a mezzo-soprano singing ‘with a folk or even blues style’ as the narrator. Many colourful effects are employed in the choral parts around this narrative and the ‘tyrant spell’ constantly pulls the music back to the rather sinister harmonies based around C minor heard at the beginning.
from notes by Rupert Gough © 2013