The Sirens’ Song

for SATB chorus (divisi) & piano
Music by: Carol Kayee Mak
Text by: William Browne
Commissioned and premiered by Modern Sound Collective.

Carol Kayee Mak’s The Sirens’ Song sets the words of Elizabeth era English poet, William Browne, transporting the listener to an Ancient Greek myth in which mysterious creatures lure sailors to their doom.

William Browne (ca. 1590 – ca. 1645)

STEER, hither steer your winged pines,
All beaten mariners!
Here lie Love’s undiscover’d mines,
A prey to passengers—
Perfumes far sweeter than the best
Which make the Phoenix’ urn and nest.
Fear not your ships,
Nor any oppose you save our lips;
But come on shore,
Where no joy dies till Love hath gotten more.

For swelling waves our panting breasts,
Where never storms arise,
Exchange, and be awhile our guests:
For stars gaze on our eyes.
The compass Love shall hourly sing,
And as he goes about the ring,
We will not miss
To tell each point he nameth with a kiss.
—Then come on shore,
Where no joy dies till Love hath gotten more.


(Minimum Purchase of 20 Copies Per Item Required)


MSC0008 – The Sirens’ Song – SCORE PERUSAL PDF


This SSATBB choral piece is set to the poem by the same name, penned in Elizabethan England by William Browne. The story outlines a well known ancient Greek tale of mythological creatures that seduce and lead sailors to their doom. In this setting of Browne, I chose to utilize the different vocal ranges of the choir as characters in the plot – with high voices embodying the eerie quality of sirens, and low voices acting as the sailors. The two groups call to each other, echoing the other, only converging once the spell has been cast.