Burning Chariots   12'
SATB choir
Written for The Boston Secession
view score  
Recording: Live concert recording, The Crossing.

"Burning Chariots…showed clearly how good [McLoskey] is. He culled graphically unflinching antiwar texts, many of them Old Testament, and had them sung over dronelike effects - with great visceral effect."
 –David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer, July 19, 2010

It's funny how words written last year can already seem dated, while others from millennia ago can be strikingly fresh and relevant.  Certainly there are voluminous sections of thees, thous and "he begats" in the Old Testament which feel foreign and dry as bone.  Yet there are also portions that are frighteningly current in both tone and message, and transcend time, place and culture.

Rather than set a single story or text, I decided to set several such passages that resonate today as directly as in any era.  A primary cantus firmus text sung in Hebrew provides the backdrop, while 11 other texts (sung in 12 languages) slowly filter through, weaving a tapestry of texts and voices.  Finally a sole soprano enters with a lament in Latin, acting as the universal voice - the real voice of the choir, of all of us - grieving over the loss of life, love, and humanity.  For over four thousand years this message has been repeated, and yet all we have to do is turn on the TV and watch in vivid technicolor how bitterly apropos it remains. 

Burning Chariots was written for Boston Secession, and dedicated to all who have worked towards peace across the millennia