Abraham & Isaac

Genre: Choral

Mood: Tragic

Forces: SATB, Piano

Length: 6 Minutes


Written in 2005, Abraham & Isaac sets Wilfred Owen’s bitter poem Parable of the Old Man and the Young for SATB choir and piano. It lasts approximately 6 minutes.

Sheet Music

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The Parable of the Old Man and the Young

So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
And took the fire with him, and a knife.
And as they sojourned both of them together,
Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,
Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?
Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,
And builded parapets and trenches there,
And stretched forth the knife to slay his son.
When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,
Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,
Neither do anything to him. Behold,
A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;
Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.
But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
And half the seed of Europe, one by one.

Wilfred Owen MC
Lieutenant, 5th Bn Manchester Regiment. Son of Mr and Mrs Tom Owen, Monkmoor Rd, Shrewsbury. Native of Oswestry. Enlisted in The Artists' Rifles in October 1915. Commissioned into the Manchester Regiment in June 1916. Killed Monday 4 November 1918, aged 25, during the crossing of the Sambre-Oise Canal, one week before the end of the war.

Programme notes

This piece was written in 2005 in the shadow of the Iraq war. It was already clear that there would be no good outcome from that adventure.