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Love abide

First line:
Love is the One who masters all things

The genesis of Love abide’s commission was the pinnacle of Love and devotion—a commission by The Choral Arts Society Philadelphia, USA, that was funded by philanthropist Paul Rowley, who wanted something composed in memory of his late wife, Miriam Primitch. She sang alto in the choir for fifteen years—I was told that she would literally 'glow' after every performance. He specified that he would like the famous verses on Love from the Bible’s first book of Corinthians, with its timeless message: you can have anything in the whole wide world but it is worth nothing without love.

For the first movement, I was free to choose another poem to accompany this. Love is the master, by Rumi (the thirteenth-century Sufi mystic and poet) is just as fervent in its celebration of love, but in a wilder and more passionate way than the bible verses it precedes. I have used the Sufi Duyek Velveleli rhythm as a quasi 'riff' in the bass and the Turkish Zengüle mode (imagine a scale of C with a D flat and an A flat), giving the music a more Eastern flavour. The rhythms, harmonies and vocal lines start quite sedately with parts of the choir chanting 'Love is the master' in a trance-like fashion. As the music progresses all these elements become more and more intense until, fraught with irrevocable ecstasy …

The second movement, called Love abide (as well as the title of the whole piece), is much calmer and infused with a more romantic—rather than passionate—ardour than Love is the master. Flowing and interweaving scales in the organ and harp accompany most of the movement creating a calm, dream-like atmosphere. Soloists, choir and orchestra end the piece together, with intense joy and optimism.

from notes by Roxanna Panufnik © 2019


Panufnik (R): Love abide & other choral works
SIGCD564Download only


Movement 1: Love is the master  Love is the One who masters all things
author of text
translator of text

Track 2 on SIGCD564 [5'22] Download only
Movement 2: Love abide  If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels
author of text
1 Corinthians 13

Track 3 on SIGCD564 [10'41] Download only

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