Defeat (2014)
(For Baritone Voice, Flute, and Cello)
Approximate duration: 9’30”

MIDI recording. This piece has yet to be performed.


Khalil GibranSet to one of the poems in the collection The Madman by the Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran, Defeat explores the acceptance of defeat, rejection, and alienation in society.

Reminded of the lyrics to the songs of John Dowland, where sorrow is a form of joy, and loneliness is a form of companionship, Defeat really delves into the benefits of exploring, understanding, and accepting these states of being which we are usually taught to avoid, suppress or ignore in contemporary society.

Each of the 5 stanzas is set to a different collection of notes that are played in the instruments following strict overlapping rhythmic patterns. The vocal melody shares these notes but is written to accommodate the inflection of the text. The resulting alignment of the parts causes unpredictable harmonic shifts in relation to time.


Defeat, my Defeat, my solitude and my aloofness;
You are dearer to me than a thousand triumphs,
And sweeter to my heart than all worldglory.

Defeat, my Defeat, my self-knowledge and my defiance,
Through you I know that I am yet young and swift of foot
And not to be trapped by withering laurels.
And in you I have found aloneness
And the joy of being shunned and scorned.

Defeat, my Defeat, my shining sword and shield,
In your eyes I have read
That to be enthroned is to be enslaved,
And to be understood is to be levelled down,
And to be grasped is but to reach one’s fullness
And like a ripe fruit to fall and be consumed.

Defeat, my Defeat, my bold companion,
You shall hear my songs and my cries and my silences,
And none but you shall speak to me of the beating of wings,
And urging of seas,
And of mountains that burn in the night,
And you alone shall climb my steep and rocky soul.

Defeat, my Defeat, my deathless courage,
You and I shall laugh together with the storm,
And together we shall dig graves for all that die in us,
And we shall stand in the sun with a will,
And we shall be dangerous.

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