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Dona nobis pacem (2018)

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Dona nobis pacem for SATB

Dona nobis pacem was composed in 2018 to mark 100 years of female suffrage and the centenary of the armistice of WWI.

It was written in response to a ‘call for scores’ from a Scottish choir who were looking for a piece to be performed alongside Robert Carver’s Missa ‘L’homme armé’. The medieval European ‘pop’ song L’homme armé (The Armed Man) formed the basis of many Masses written by European Renaissance composers, but Carver was the only British composer to use the tune in his Mass-setting. I took the ‘dona nobis pacem’ from Carver’s Missa ‘L’homme armé’ as a literal starting point. Thus the piece is enveloped in the sound-world of Carver, whilst embracing more contemporary choral sonorities, to give a sense of it being as much about the ‘here and now’; as a homage to the past.


Dona nobis pacem is suffused with direct quotations from the medieval song L’homme armé. A particular characteristic of Carver’s style is his simultaneous, or almost simultaneous use of both B-natural and B-flat. I have taken advantage of this enjoyment of that particular false relation to add extra colour to this setting.


This piece was short-listed in the Cappella Nova Composers' Competition.

Dona nobis pacem
Olivia Sparkhall

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