Tim Coker

Only Our Love
for unaccompanied chorus (SATB)

duration: 4 minutes

Only Our Love

Only our love hath no decay;
This, no tomorrow hath, nor yesterday,
Running it never runs from us away
But truly keeps its first, last, everlasting day.

- John Donne

Written for a friend's wedding in Lichfield Cathedral last year, this short anthem is to begin with dark, dissonant and mysterious. The tessitura gradually rises throughout towards a final dramatic flourish where the harmonic clashes widen leaving an optimistic openness. There are a number of examples of word and idea painting in the piece; the way the music gradually grows and transforms (as a couple in their life together should), the long sustained and staggered notes and the repetition of the word "love" (a metaphorical statement of the constant nature of union), the syncopated "never runs from us away" and the powerful rhythmic unison of the final acclamation.

The piece is of moderate difficulty. Having come to terms with the harmonic language, a good amateur choir would not find it an impossible task. Some of the leaps are a little fiendish but, in general, the voice-leading is very kind (though you may have to search around a bit to find the note that's meant to help your part!).

Tim Coker was born in Walsall, West Midlands. He is currently Composer-in-Residence at Hampton School in Middlesex, teaching both music and drama. He is also Artistic Director of new music ensemble Digger (and bitz) which had its London debut in Spring 2000.

Tim read Music at the Birmingham Conservatoire, where he studied composition with John Mayer and John Joubert, and singing with Brian Rayner Cook. After graduating with First Class Honours, he began post-graduate studies at Manchester University with John Casken, where he was awarded a Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust Scholarship, a Manchester University Scholarship and a Prince's Trust Grant. He is currently working for his MPhil in composition with John Woolrich and Simon Holt at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Tim has twice been on the spnm shortlist. In 1994 his first String Quartet, "Odi Profanum Vulgus et Arced' was performed at the Cheltenham Festival by the Duke String Quartet who have since performed the work at St. John's College, Oxford. This year, the BBC Singers have performed his anthem, "Only Our Love" in London conducted by Simon Joly.

In 1998, Tim was a finalist for the Yorkshire and Humberside Young Composer's Award and his piece for mixed wind ensemble, "Digger, digger" was performed by the Orkest de Volharding at the 1998 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. His choral work, "What the Sea Saw", (commissioned for the 10th anniversary of the Herald of Free Enterprise ferry disaster for the Academic Scholars Chamber Choir) has been released on CD entitled, "Hereditary Voices". Tim has also had works performed by the Lindsay String Quartet, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, the Cambridge New Music Players, the Composer's Ensemble and the Rosell String Quartet.

Tim was a member of the National Youth Choir from the age of 16, Choral Scholar at Birmingham Cathedral and was a member of the Ambrosian Opera Chorus in Vitorrio Rossi's Production of Verdi's "Aida". He is a member of British Actor's Equity with experience both as an actor and director and has extensive experience of teaching drama. Tim was a drama coach for the Stagecoach Performing Arts Schools in 1995-6.

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