Song for Venus: Sola Vida

I’ve been working on composing a song, Sola Vida, with help from some students over the last few weeks.  Here is the latest recording:

Garageband: All instruments: piano, bass, drums, guitar

The composition originated as an instrumental piece:

On June 6th Venus completed its transit across the sun.  My son was moved to say “how come we got picked out of all the planets” as I described in an earlier post.  The next night, inspired by these events, I stayed up all night writing this piece of music, using Garageband on my imac and my piano. Originally called ‘Refract’

Venus Transition 6/6/2012

It has a slow build-up, then a bit of a ‘stadium’ chorus, before a mellow outro…..The idea was to mirror the anticipation and then the final ‘happening’ of the Venus transition.

Over the summer I played it over and over and the idea for a vocal line developed but I was hearing a choir, not a pop voice.  So, back at school, I recruited some of our musicians to help.  Ben, our most gifted Y13 musician, helped to create a vocal score so that the singers could learn the tune.  My colleague Tim, Director of Music, suggested some key changes and, after a few edits, I ended up with the piece as it is now.

Ben tweaks the score a little more
Ben tweaks the score a little more

I had planned to write the words in Latin – it seemed to fit the mood.  However, Ben suggested that other composers such as Karl Jenkins, simply made up their own words to create the effect they wanted.  So that is what I did:

Sola Vida, Destinatus, Solaso…..

Josh recording the opening phrases
Josh recording the opening phrases

The recording process, at a few snatched lunchtimes, has led to further edits and revisions to the tune.  Josh, on treble and Max, on alto/tenor have helped enormously.  Thanks to Henry too. So, here it is again.  Not finished; a work in progress … but getting there:


The whole experience of working with proper singers and musicians has been inspiring.  They’ve had to learn to work with my more fluid musical method and I’ve had to learn to communicate my ideas to them.  Now we have the basic shape, a few more harmonies, edits and re-recording will be required before a final mix.  Guitars went missing for a while but now back up in the mix.



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