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Dona Nobis Pacem

By Olivia Sparkhall

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Choir, SATB - Advanced Intermediate - Digital Download
Composed by Olivia Sparkhall. Contemporary Classical, Sacred. Score. 6 pages. Published by Olivia Sparkhall (S0.540956).

Item Number: S0.540956

Dona Nobis Pacem for SATB

In 2018 Cappella Nova held a competition inviting women composers to submit a score for an a cappella work setting the text ‘dona nobis pacem’. The competition was to mark 100 Years of Female Suffrage and The Centenary of the Armistice of WW1. The winning piece was to be performed alongside Robert Carver’s Mass, L’Homme armé. This piece was short-listed in the competition.


Robert Carver was the only British composer to base a Mass-setting on the medieval European ‘pop’ song L’Homme armé. In light of this, I have taken the ‘dona nobis pacem’ from Carver’s Missa L’Homme armé as a literal starting point. The piece is enveloped in the sound-world of Carver, whilst embracing more contemporary choral sounds, to give a sense of it being as much about the ‘here and now’ as a homage to the past. Dona nobis pacem is suffused with direct quotes from the medieval song L’Homme armé, albeit in a harmonic language which is at once contemporary whilst also harking back to the parallel harmony of the distant past.

Olivia Sparkhall studied composition at Durham University with Paul Archbold, composing for the Northern Sinfonietta and Flower Quartet as part of her studies. Since moving to South West England, she has focused primarily on writing vocal music, notably for BBC One’s Songs of Praise programme. Recent commissions have been for International Women’s Day services in 2018 (Lux Aeterna) and 2019 (Faith and Hope). She was short-listed in the Cappella Nova competition in 2018 for Dona Nobis Pacem. Gabriel’s Message (2018) received it’s premiere (in the version with piano accompaniment) in Southwark Cathedral and (in the version with harp accompaniment) in Salisbury Cathedral. She is currently working on a large-scale commission which is due for delivery on 1 September 2019.

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