Virginia || Alto & SATB Choir, 2016 || Print Score

Virginia cover.jpg
Virginia cover.jpg

Virginia || Alto & SATB Choir, 2016 || Print Score


Duration: 7:00

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Virginia is based on Virginia Woolf´s suicide letter to her husband, dated in May 1941. The idea for this work began when I found this letter four years ago while looking for information about Virginia. I was impressed and intrigued by her writing and artistic personality after reading Mrs Dalloway and The Waves. The letter shocked me and I immediately decided I wanted to write this piece, but this project had to stay in my mind for years until I decided to score it for choir and soloist.

I couldn’t help but feel compassion for such a talented and thoughtful artist whose suffering would eventually lead her to this final, fatal decision. I felt emotionally compelled by how her art acts as a reflection of these intense emotions. As empathy through art can be a strong mechanism to develop our understanding of one another, I wanted to explore this letter through musical means. 
The contralto, with her dark, low registered vocalizations, is then echoed in the choir through the repetition of the text and direct musical repetition. The use of repeated pitches, glissandis and dense textures serve to create rising and falling tensions through masses of sound. At times, the text is repeated incessantly, eventually losing meaning and coherence amidst the texture of the sound.

The full letter is below.


I feel certain I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can’t concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier till this terrible disease came. I can’t fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can’t even write this properly. I can’t read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that – everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer. 

I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been.