Lonely Hearts

for SATB a cappella
10 mins.

a cycle of five songs on poems by Wendy Cope

1. Reading Scheme
2. Some People
3. I’ll be Nice
4. Verse for a Birthday Card
5. Lonely Hearts

Programme notes

Lonely Hearts was commissioned in 2004 by Soundstreams Canada, and the first performance of the complete set was given on 3rd April 2005 by the choir of Wilfred Laurier University conducted by Lee Willingham. During 2004 I had been working on a series of sacred choral pieces, culminating in a big setting of the Stabat Mater.  Lonely Hearts was written for light relief. The poems by Wendy Cope are taken from her 1986 collection Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis, and deal with the bitter-sweet complexities of modern personal relationships. Although very funny and rather saucy, they have a distinctly serious and quite poignant undertone. I had great fun setting them to music, and I hope that comes across in performance. The fourth song, Verse for a Birthday Card, is a mini-fugue on the words Some people like sex more than others”.

Giles Swayne 2008