Portrait

Librettos and Poetry

 

 

COMMISSIONS

Euan’s aim as a librettist is to write words that are a powerful catalyst for music, with strong choral architecture, and which speak in the widest possible way for the spiritual longings of a very diverse society.  I delight in writing for choral composers, and feel there is a growing passion for shared singing among the public, and would love to be there to offer new words for composers to enjoy shaping into their own music.   Please use the contact form for commissions.

Euan’s visibility as a librettist is increasing rapidly among choirs and conductors in the US, UK and EU.

Euan has now produced a wide range of choral works with the Norwegian composer Kim André Arnesen. Two major works have recently been premiered.  The first, The Christmas Alleluias, was performed by The Valley Chamber Chorale, Stillwater, Minnesota,  and conductor Carol Carver in December 2015. The second, The Wound in the Water, was first performed in Norway’s great cathedral in Trondheim in July 2016 by Conspirare under Craig Hella Johnson,in the presence of government ministers, and was broadcast on national radio. Of the shorter choral works, Flight Song, dedicated to the St. Olaf Choir and conductor Anton Armstrong, was performed across the US, including at  Carnegie Hall, NYC.  December 2016 saw the widely praised premier of a new Christmas work, His Light in Us, under Anton Armstrong (also viewable on YouTube). See also the “Choral Music” section at http://www.kimarnesen.com/#!works/c1h6a which includes publication details of these works.

Euan’s first choral symphony libretto, Unfinished Remembering, with acclaimed music by Paul Spicer, was first performed on 13th September 2014, with the Birmingham Bach choir, the Orchestra of the Swan, and soloists  Johane Ansell (soprano)  and baritone William Dazeley. The vocal score is currently being prepared for a second printing for further performances, and Euan appeared twice on  BBC Midlands Today,  including at a rehearsal of his and Spicer’s new National song,  ‘A Shared Singing’.

Euan is developing other projects, with international choral composers, including an opera.

Response to Unfinished Remembering libretto (2014):

“laden with intensity and meaning…Tait generates a kind of counterpoint akin to David Pountney’s triple-layered text for his Royal Academy and Juilliard School student opera Kommilitonen! (the music there by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies)… it works staggeringly well in one key respect: there is the feeling of not just unease, but danger in the air. Battered by cruellest memories, we are reliving – just as Great War veterans, or Holocaust survivors, the bombed and the battered, the displaced and disquieted anywhere, must relive – the horrors of trauma, and seeking to preserve something, even some kind of ideal, from the rubble. ‘Who was the boy surrounded by hate and stabbed to death in our streets? What was his name? He was our dream architect…’. The endless questions boil down to one thing: a mutual, universal quest to discover our humanity.”  http://seenandheard-international.com/2014/10/premiere-of-paul-spicers-exciting-new-choral-symphony-makes-a-strong-impact-in-birmingham/

Kim André Arnesen, on the anthem text Flight Song:  ” I have had time to both read and sing your poem, and I think it´s beautiful. Just what I had in mind with a poem about singing, but keeping it universal and as you say, being valid for many people. And it really appeals to young people. And I feel it´s spiritual as well keeping it universal…t’s been a pleasure working with you.” (April 26th 2014, via email)

“The text by Scottish poet and retreat master Euan Tait opens with the line “All we are we have found in song.” Arneson’s setting of the poem was given a ravishing reading by the choir, and it truly seemed that the group of young people on stage had found themselves in song and (that they are) “alive to love, we sing as love.”Worcester Telegram & Gazette – telegram.com Worcester, MA, 2015

Response to A Shared Singing, the new national song for the Military Choir Birmingham, 16th November 2013:

“A Shared Singing” was also wonderful to hear and sing: somehow I think it could well be in the canon of patriotic songs in the decades and centuries ahead. I was not the only one who had that unmistakeable catching at the heart and slight crack in the voice, because of the words and their music, which goes with such songs, and if that is any sort of harbinger of things to come, well… what more is there to be said? … I can only say thank you so very much: it has a rightness of time and place which so rarely comes.”  Barbara, singer, Birmingham Bach Choir.