Upon my bed by night
for choir, guitar and
alto and baritone soloists
composed by David W Solomons and arranged by Guy Protheroe
Score available here
I wrote a setting from the Song of Songs (also called the Song of Solomon) for alto and guitar back in the 1980s, with a Taizé like chorus ("My beloved is mine and I am his") punctuating a series of unaccompanied solo melodies.
In the early 1990s Guy Protheroe, conductor of the English Chamber Choir, asked me whether I had any settings from The Song of Songs for a special concert to be called "The Garden of Love".
I showed him the song and, together, we reworked it and made it into a full-blown choral work, keeping the guitar as the accompanying instrument with the chorus reflecting and enhancing its perambulations.
It received its first performance in this choral form in 1993, with Guy Protheroe conducting, at the concert in the church of St James Garlickhythe, London).
In 2017 I commissioned anther performance in Budapest.
Upon my bed by night, I sought him whom my soul loves.
I sought him but found him not, I called him, I called him, but he gave no answer.
I will rise now and go about the city, in the streets, in the squares.
I will seek him whom my soul loves. I sought him.
Behold! You are beautiful my love! Your eyes are doves behind your veil;
your hair is like a flock of goats, moving down the slopes of Gilead.
The voice of my belovèd
behold he comes
leaping upon the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
My belovèd is mine and I am his.
My belovèd is like a gazelle or a young stag;
behold! there he stands behind our wall gazing in at the window.
My belovèd spake and said to me:
"Arise my love, my fair one and come away,
for lo! the winter is past, the rain is over and gone."
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of singing has come
and the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our land.