Elaine Agnew


Type of Work: Vocal/Choral
Instrumentation: Choir (satb)
Length: 6 minutes
Text: Song of Solomon
Commissioned by: National Chamber Orchestra
Premiere: 4 December 2003, National Gallery, Dublin.
National Chamber Choir, conductor Celso Antunes


When I was commissioned to write this piece for the National Chamber Choir the challenge was to find a way of adapting the beautiful chapters of Solomon’s ‘Song of Songs’ into a short choral work.  Not an easy task, considering the richness and diversity of this compelling Old Testament text, with its celebration of erotic love.  From first reading, certain lines struck me:  “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!  For your love is better than wine.”  I felt this was a line for a solo alto voice, soon to be echoed by the body of the choir.  In the second section, the bride excitedly sings of her beloved “bounding over the mountains, leaping over the hills.”  I was excited by the imagery and energy of this line and couldn’t help but portray it with an angular sense of movement.  However, such a flight of fantasy is short lived as a more personal and tender mood returns.

Kiss Me was premiered in the National Gallery of Ireland in December 2003 and recently performed at the Music for the Golden Vale in Tipperary in 2009.