Labyrinth to Light

For treble/ soprano and piano


3 minutes




Commissioned by Commissioned by NMC Records as part of the NMC Songbook, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of NMC. The recording was released in April 2009.





Boy treble or soprano (range middle c to top A) and piano



Composer Notes

Programme Notes

There was a man of double deed
Sowed his garden full of seed
When the seed began to grow,
‘Twas like a garden full of snow
When the snow began to melt,
‘Twas like a ship without a belt;
When the ship began to sail,
‘Twas like a bird without a tail.
When the bird began to fly
‘Twas like an eagle in the sky;
And when the sky began to roar,

‘Twas like a lion at the door;
When the door began to crack,
‘Twas like a stick upon my back;
When my back began to smart,
‘Twas like a pen-knife in my heart;
When my heart began to bleed,
‘Twas death, and death, and death indeed.


Kommilitonen! is an ensemble piece that prioritises collective singing which from start to finish was magnificent. But the evening’s real star was Maxwell Davies, whose music gave these young performers something genuinely worthwhile to work with. It found distinctive style and colour for the separate stories, with convincing Weimar Republic expressionism for the White Rose episodes, and robust parodies of Maoist jingles for the Chinese ones. But it also had a heart and soul, touching profoundly spiritual depths in its recourse to scriptural quotations.

Daily Telegraph

First Performance

No first performance - Andrew Swait's voice broke between recording and premiere, so the recording was played as part of the concert series on 1 April 2009 at King's Place.