Roger Marsh Composer

The Song of Abigail note

The Song of Abigail (1986)                                       Roger Marsh


This is one of a number of Old Testament pieces I composed during the eighties, which together make up The Big Bang (a dramatic Oratorio).

Students of the Old Testament will tell you that there is no ‘Song of Abigail’; and this is true.  But Abigail’s part in the extraordinary showdown between David and the rich and churlish Nabal is one of great importance. It seems only proper that the story should be told by her.

In brief, the tale runs like this:

David and his six hundred men are occupying land belonging to Nabal, a wealthy sheep owner. David sends men to demand food and gifts from Nabal, but he refuses.  David plans to take revenge, but Nabal’s wife Abigail intercedes and David relents. Ten days later Nabal dies, slain by God, and David takes Abigail as his wife.

The Song of Abigail was written for a BBC invitation concert given by ‘Lontano’ in 1986.  The soloist was Frances Lynch.  The text is adapted from various translations of the Old Testament.