Seven Ages of Man (Seven)
Music: Bryan Kesselman
Words: Philip Barnett
First performed: January 2015
A cantata which takes as its starting point the ‘All the world’s a stage’ speech from Shakespeare’s As You Like It. This was used as a jumping off point to consider aspects of each of the seven ages as they apply today.
After several years of running community choirs limited to a secular repertoire, we realised that without the opportunity to tackle any of the standard choral repertoire (due to its complexity or religious subject matter) we were almost entirely confined to singing individual songs or medleys.
As our choirs improved we felt they needed something more 'meaty'. We wanted them to experience the satisfaction that comes from tackling a substantial work.
And so we sat down to write one. It is called Seven Ages of Man.
We have tried to address many of the problems that choirs experience. So whatever the standard and characteristics of your choir, Seven Ages of Man should be achievable.
The piece was intended to be performable with just piano accompaniment, but with the ability to add other instruments where circumstances allowed.
Seven is in nine parts. A prologue and an epilogue using Shakespeare’s words complement the seven ages.
We took into account the fact that our choirs consist mainly of older people who cannot stand for long periods. The piece is structured to allow periods of sitting while the soloists sing.
Musical style: Modern yet tonal
Duration: 30 minutes
Accompaniment: Piano reduction available but could also be performed with small orchestra. Would especially benefit from percussion.
Type of piece: Secular, mix of humorous and thoughtful
Theme: Life stages
Level of complexity: Moderate
Solo parts: Soprano and baritone which could be sourced from within a choir or by bringing in more experienced singers. Can also be easily split between more than two people.
Sections yet to be added
Sample words and music
mp3 rehearsal tracks
How to acquire a copy for evaluation
Getting permission to perform the work