This is a setting of part of Thomas Campbell's beautiful poem "Hallowed Ground." The theme is "To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die." This piece is intended for general choral performance but would fit well in the context of a funeral or memorial service. It is not religious, and should be appropriate for secular or religious services.
Thomas Campbell was a Scottish poet and international polymath, born in Glasgow and buried in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.
He is known for forming and leading many political, social and cultural organisations and was one of the founders of University College London.
He wrote many stirring, epic poems, often about heroic military and seafaring themes. His late poem "Hallowed Ground" is not actually one of his best known. It is a curious piece - discussing God's motives for influencing mankind.
This song takes just two stanzas from the poem and ends with the hopeful assertion: "To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die."
I wanted to write a song as beautiful as a hymn but not religious - something that could be used at a non-denominational funeral or memorial service.
Although the poem itself has a lot to do with God, the words I have extracted do not and I think they hold true whatever personal beliefs one has.
This premiere performance is by the Devon-based choir, VOCES,
conducted by their musical director, Martyn Warren
Richard Lamming Music