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The Wings of Desire

for soprano and guitar

Year:  2008

Year:  2008

David Hamilton

Composer:   David Hamilton

Films, Audio & Samples

Sample Score

Sample: Page 1 to 2, 8 to 9 and 12 to 13

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This cycle takes all its texts from the anthology Love Speaks Its Name. Although my original intention had been to set texts by women writers, I couldn’t resist the little A.E. Housman poem from his Last Poems. The anthology is organised in a progression from the act of longing for love, through active looking for love and loving itself, ending in the anxiety of loss and the aftermath of that loss. I have retained that kind of progression in the selected texts.

As the forward to the anthology states:
...the poems here have all been written by men and women whose desires for love, over the centuries, have been condemned and persecuted. In earlier days this forced them to learn how to disguise their desires. But then, that is what poems do as well. To hide something is to conceal it; to disguise something is to reveal it but only to those who know how and where to look.(J.C. McClatchy in Love Speaks Its Name)

None of the poems is overtly sexual. They speak of the common desires of all men and women – to be loved, appreciated and valued by another person. The title of the cycle comes from the first line of the first poem: 'Come on the wings of great desire...'.

The Wings of Desire was written for former student Sarah Court and her partner Suzanne Court.

Dedication note

Dedicated to Sarah and Sue

Contents note

  1. No Obligation
  2. The Half-Moon Westers Low (XXVI from Last Poems)
  3. Evening Songs
  4. Neither Wanting More
  5. Then

Text note

Texts by Vita Sackville-West, A. E. Housman, Willa Cather, May Swenson and Muriel Rukeyser