Break, Break, Break

Break, Break, Break


  • Two Choirs, Children’s Choir and Orchestra (1992)


Technical Information

Duration – 7:00

Break, Break, Break for Two Choirs, Children’s Choir and Orchestra (1992)

(Text by Alfred Tennyson)

2 SATB Choirs, Children’s Choir/4.2.ehn.4.2./

(3rd and 4th flute, English horn, 3rd and 4th clarinet and/or 3rd and 4th percussion are optional)

(Note: the composer is interested in revising this work for one SATB choir and a smaller orchestra, and creating a piano reduction.)

Program Notes

Dedicated to the Toronto Secondary Schools Music Teacher’s Association (T.S.S.M.T.A.) in celebration of Toronto’s 200th birthday, Break, Break, Break was composed for the organization’s annual Massey Hall performance on March 31, 1993. Set to a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson, the composition is in ternary form. An orchestral introduction sets the mood of the first section and echoes the sound of the sea. The second section starts on a happier note and then becomes more stately and majestic. The musical material of the first section returns in a slightly varied form before the orchestra finally resolves the dialogue of the poem.

Break, Break, Break was one of Ronald Royer’s first compositions and the first time he composed for a choir and for an orchestra. The premiere performance featured a combined ensemble of over 600 performers, including singers from Central Commerce, Eastdale, Eastern Commerce, Harbord, Humberside, Malvern, Monarch Park, Northern Secondary, Oakwood, and Riverdale High Schools, plus Bowmore Public School, accompanied by the Oakwood Symphony Orchestra. Ronald Royer conducted the choir, children’s choir and orchestra on stage and Roy Greaves conducted the offstage choir.