Bring rest, sweet dreaming child
takes its title from the first stanza of a poem by the Anglican priest-poet, Mark Pryce, which, in his own words, ‘reflects on the birth of the Christ-child who comes into the anxiety, noise and loneliness of the contemporary city, with its varied threats and fear of neighbour.’ Originally written in 2003 for Midnight Mass in the heart of the city, there is an ecumenical sentiment of stillness that pervades the poem; something which I have tried to bring out in my musical setting, commissioned by the Elysian Singers of London and first performed by them in December 2004 in St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden. Scored here in a version for upper-voice choir, the words are sparsely accompanied by a solo harp. I have deliberately avoided the more conventional use of the instrument, thus there are no glissandi and it does not double the vocal line; instead it casts a soft light, quietly highlighting particular resonances. Each verse, based on the opening monody, is altered and extended very slightly until we see a window upon the inherent radiance of the words.
from notes by Tarik O'Regan © 2006