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Standing as I do before God

First line:
I have seen death so often
2013; S solo, SSATB unaccompanied
author of text
after the final words of Edith Cavell (1865-1915)

Standing as I do before God (2013), for soprano solo and choir, is a setting of Seán Street’s reflection on words spoken by nurse Edith Cavell on the eve of her execution on 12 October 1915. After the German occupation of Brussels in November 1914, Cavell sheltered wounded British, French and Belgian soldiers and helped the Allies to escape to neutral territories. In the following year she was betrayed by an informer and arrested. She was then tried for treason and condemned to death. Recorded by the Anglican chaplain, the Reverend Stirling Graham, her last words were: ‘Patriotism is not enough: I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.’ These words are engraved below her statue, which stands in St Martin’s Place, Trafalgar Square, in London. McDowall’s piece is a sombre lament, which combines solemnity with eloquent intensity. The lonely night spent by Cavell in a German military prison before her execution by firing squad is poignantly evoked in this emotionally committed tribute to an exceptional and compassionate woman.

from notes by Paul Conway © 2021


McDowall: Sacred choral music
Studio Master: CDA68251Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Track 3 on CDA68251 [6'21]

Track-specific metadata for CDA68251 track 3

Recording date
14 January 2018
Recording venue
Trinity College Chapel, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Adrian Peacock
Recording engineer
David Hinitt
Hyperion usage
  1. McDowall: Sacred choral music (CDA68251)
    Disc 1 Track 3
    Release date: April 2021
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