Elaine Agnew


Type of Work: Vocal/Choral
Instrumentation: Soprano and piano
Length: 4 minutes
Text: Michael Longley
Commissioned by: National Concert Hall
Premiere: 15 April 2003, National Concert Hall, Dublin.
Judith Mok and Juliet Welshman


Scored for soprano and cello, Snow-Hole is cast in a single movement which evolves from the initial ideas in the short cello introduction.  A continuous stream of music creates a calm lyricism which is layered with images that appear in and out of focus.  The opening words Falling asleep is heard by both performers in unison before they go their separate ways.  This idea of the cello and soprano together and then apart persists throughout.

The National Concert Hall commissioned Snow-Hole for the 2003 Composers’ Choice series and was premiered by Judith Mok and Juliet Welchman.  It has since enjoyed numerous performances by Concorde.

“Falling asleep in the snowscape of the big double-bed

I wrap my hand around your hand until they catch fire

And the snow begins to melt and we sink down and down,

The fire and ourselves, how many feet below the morning.

Should our fingers burn out at the bottom of the snow-hole

Smoke will escape up the glass chimney into the bedroom.”

                                                                        Michael Longley

Michael Dungan, Irish Times:

“Elaine Agnew’s 2003 Snow-Hole needed no visual corroboration.  Her evocative setting for voice and cello of Michael Longley’s poem nicely captured the tender image of a bed as a vast, white snowscape”