Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Seek Him That Maketh The Seven Stars

Jonathan Dove
Born 1959
Jonathan Dove is one of the great contemporary choral composers. However, he also composes for opera and film. My favourite of Dove's choral works is 'Seek Him That Maketh the Seven Stars'. The thing that is immediately striking about this piece is the opening, where we hear an organ ostinato, followed by the soft sound of a solo soprano singing the main theme. I find this piece to be incredibly effective for a number of reasons. First of all, despite fitting into the category of popular classical music, the piece has quite a deep complexity to it through Dove's use of themes, motifs and conceptual ideas. One of the most obvious is the repetition throughout of the phrase: 'seek him', giving an additional, emotional depth to the piece. As well as this, the piece - once heard - is very memorable, not because it's extremely loud or harsh on the ears, or because it uses a particularly unusual tonal centre, but because of its concept, paired with the subtlety of Dove's interpretation. My favourite touch is the slowest of the sections in which Dove writes in 7/8 (for the seven stars), as well as this, the music slows and fades to the words: 'into the morning'.

I chose this image because it is exactly what I picture as I hear the opening of the piece, especially the organ ostinato which creates a truly magical atmosphere. Not only do I hope to one day be able to write something as powerful as this, but also to be able to play the organ part!

'Seek Him That Maketh The Seven Stars' - performed by Tenebrae


  1. Love this piece. Our church choir performed it in the service just last week. Awesome.