“Frondose canopies”

A Colloquy of Colours (2002)

Blue, the clearest voice,
divined not heard, exhaling
depthless translucence.

Green can talk in tongues
under frondose canopies,
multiplying shades.

Red speaks brazenly
till it hears that harmony
calls for merging tones.

Yellow laughs and sighs,
youthful, bright, autumnal in
Janus-headed joy.

The silence of black
paints night and mysteries with
eloquence and ink.

The stillness of white
is a siren’s song, drowning
the surf’s restless wash.

— Richard McDonald

A setting of a series of haiku by Richard McDonald, each describing a different colour, A Colloquy of Colours was originally written for the vocal ensemble Tenebrae.


BBC Singers (workshop performance at BBC Maida Vale studios, February 2006).


25 minutes


17 solo voices in four choirs (SSA, SATB, SATB, SATTBB)