Threnody for Jowan

Head shot of a smiling Russell-Pascoe

In his blog, Cornish Composer Russell Pascoe talks about a piece which will be performed at the up and coming concert on the 17 October with Truro Cathedral Choir and City of London Sinfonia..... 

Threnody for Jowan

Most of my compositions are written to commission, but some are composed as a personal response to life’s significant moments, be they joyous or, in the case of this threnody for a friend losing her baby, desperately sad. 

At the time I had the writer and journalist Richard Madden staying with me. Shattered by the news, we determined to create an anthem as an attempt to process what we had heard. As Richard wrote the words I immediately set them to music. Within a few hours 'And every leaf must fall' or ‘Threnody for Jowan’ was completed. 

A group of friends rehearsed the piece and sang it at the funeral of baby Jowan; after that, it was put into a drawer. Twenty three years later, on the day that my secular anthems for Truro's 100th anniversary Remembrance Day were to be recorded by Truro Cathedral Choir, I suddenly came across the anthem in a box file. I showed it to Christopher Gray who immediately decided to add it to the CD. Finding the anthem when I did was most peculiar. These terrible events stay with you through life and it’s odd that the music, which only came into being as an instinctive response, now has a life of its own, outside its original context. 

To find out more about the Fruit of Silence concert please visit our What's On page