Nisi Dominus

Nisi Dominus


solar powered 2-channel sound (2 speakers, solar panel, amplifier and player)

In this 2-channel sound work we hear the 4th movement of Antonio Vivaldi’s ‘Nisi Dominus’. This musical setting of Psalm 127 is a song for our times; critically reflecting on our addiction to work and the consequences of vain or futile labour, as well as the role of children in society.

In this rendition, singers Emmanuel Godinez and Olivia Webb echo the conversations had by young working couples today, many of whom now cautiously consider the impact of reproduction in the face of climate change, financial insecurity and career pressure.

The two singers begin together but slowly become unstuck as the tempo slips and slides between their parts. The unison duet fails and neither echo nor harmony ensue. As the music becomes detached and the tactus (rhythm/heartbeat) obscured, the listener may wonder if the speakers are faulty. The soporific melody pulses uneasily bringing on a latent disquiet.

Nisi Dominus forms the second fold in a triptych series and was first presented in 2018 Tai Tapu Sculpture Garden, Christchurch (NZ). The first fold of the triptych, Miserere Mei based on Penitential Psalm 51, is currently being exhibited at Brick Bay Sculpture Trail, Auckland (NZ).

Warm thanks to vocalist Emmanuel Godinez for his contribution to this work. 

More Info:

Tai Tapu Sculpture Garden