Matthew Brown Composer


Vanitas Vanitatum

Taking inspiration from John Webster’s poem Vanitas Vanitatum, the music follows the same basic structure and mood. The score largely consists of woodwind and string soli, with clarinet often re-iterating the disjunct Messiaen influenced rhythms. Rather than providing a definite climax, momentary surges of energetic wildness erupt from the otherwise calm setting.


Vanitas Vanitatum


All the flowers of the spring

Meet to perfume our burying;

These have but their growing prime,

And man does flourish but his time;

We are set, we grow, we turn to earth.

Courts adieu, and all delights,

All bewitching appetites!

Sweetest breath and clearest eye,

Like perfumes, go out and die;

And consequently this is done

As shadows wait upon the sun.

Vain ambition of kings

Who seek by trophies and dead things

To leave a living name behind,

And weave but nets to catch the wind.


John Webster