Beowulf: Scyld’s Burial

for SATB and percussion quartet * (2009)

* 2 anvils / 2 claves / 2 triangles / 2 frame drums / 2 nipple gongs /

2 log drums / 2 temple blocks / clapping

Commissioned by the National Chamber Choir of Ireland

and the Cork International Choral Festival

First Performance: May 1st, 2009 / St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork, Ireland National Chamber Choir of Ireland / Paul Hillier


© 2007 Ezequiel Viñao. All rights reserved.

© 2009 TLØN EDITIONS Music Publishers.

ezequiel viñao

(audio samples)

(translated by Ezequiel Viñao)

†ær æt hy∂e stod       hringedstefna,                   

isig ond utfus,       æ†elinges fær.                        

Aledon †a       leofne †eoden,                             

beaga bryttan,       on bearm scipes,                   

mærne be mæste.

The harbor held a hook-prowed vessel,

hoar-frosted yet keen to sail, a king’s craft.

They laid down their beloved prince,

the gold-giver, in his great boat,

midship, by the mast.

                                  †ær wæs madma fela        

of feorwegum,       frætwa, gelæded;                    

ne hyrde ic cymlicor       ceol gegyrwan               hildewæpnum       ond hea∂owædum,                

billum ond byrnum;       him on bearme læg      

madma mænigo,       †a him mid scoldon           

on flodes æht       feor gewitan.


They had massed a large hoard

of weapons fetched from far-away lands.

I have not heard of a hull so well laden

with battle-axes and bronze armor,

helmets and chain-mail. ‘Cross the hero’s chest

the treasure was drawn: it would travel on,

far into the fair sea’s keeping.

Nalæs hi hine læssan       lacum teodan,             

†eodgestreonum,       †on †a dydon                   

†e hine æt frumsceafte       for∂ onsendon          

ænne ofer y∂e       umborwesende.


They laid out his body with no less splendor

or honors than his own land did

when as an orphaned boy, he had first embarked

all alone over the ageless ocean waves.

†a gyt hie him asetton       segen geldenne         

heah ofer heafod,       leton holm beran,             

geafon on garsecg;       him wæs geomor sefa,        

murnende mod.      Men ne cunnon                   

secgan to so∂e,      selerædende,                        

hæle∂ under heofenum,      hwa †æm hlæste onfeng.

And at long last they set a gold-woven standard

high above him: let it be held by tides,

given to the grim deep. Grave was their spirit,

mournful their mood. No man can know,

nor hero ‘neath heaven nor the hall’s wise

may in truth tell, with whom now lies that trove beyond ken.

Mighty Scyld was dead. At his destined hour,

he sought lasting rest in his Lord’s realm.

His cherished clan did as he had charged them   

when he, warden of Danes, still wielded words:

they bore him to the far edge of the boundless water,

the long-loved founder of the land.

audio samples:

National Chamber Choir of Ireland

Paul Hillier, conductor

Him ∂a Scyld gewat       to gescæphwile

felahror feran       on frean wære.

Hi hyne †a ætbæron       to brimes faro∂e,

swæse gesi†as,       swa he selfa bæd,

†enden wordum weold       wine Scyldinga;

leof landfruma       lange ahte.