Vocibus Mulierum - Women's Voices
Choir: SSAATTBB + Mezzo-Soprano Solo
Sunday, November 6, 1994
1. Ave Maria, 2. Inviolata, 3. Women's Voice, 4. Litany. The cantata sets Latin texts from the Roman Missal alongside English words from a Victorian child-rearing manual, texts by the author and extracts from the writings of Maria Deraisnes (the French nineteenth century Feminist) to explore the historical relationship between the Church and women, contrasting the idealised ecclesiastical view of womankind, as epitomised by the Virgin Mary, with various historical views of women and sexuality. The movements consist of a dialogue between the choir, expressing the views of the church and the soloists expressing the views of women, culminating in the mezzo-soprano soloist and female chorus echoing Maria Deraisnes' words "I decline the honour of being an angel. No-one has the right to force me to be both dupe and victim".