Roger Marsh Composer

Samson (1984)

Samson was commissioned by Vocem and premiered at the 1984 Nettlefold Festival, London. The role of Samson was performed by Philip Curtis and that of Delilah by Angela Tunstall. The text is from the anonymous mediaeval lament ‘Samson dux fortissime”, translated from the Latin by Clare Russell.  I took this from the programme notes for a remarkable concert of mediaeval song given at Keele by John Potter with Philip Picket.

Samson is described as a dramatic oratorio; it has arias and choruses.  But in fact it derives more from the Japanese No drama than from the European oratorio, with it’s slow microtonal chanting and stylised staging.  I have written a full account of the piece here.

In 1992 Philip Curtis asked me to make a new version for him, for soloist and two (vocalising) percussionists. This was premiered at the Art Musica Festival in Brussels.

Excerpts from score: