Ancient Verses was originally commissioned for the Birmingham Festival Chorus with organ accompaniment in 1978, and was later rewritten with percussion for Toni Kaljuste and his Ellerhain Chamber Choir of Tallin.
The texts include: Voracious time devours everything, moves all things from their places, allows nothing to endure for long…. (Seneca the younger, 4BC-AD65); Elegy on Lorenzo de’Medici: Who will give me water for my head? Who will give me a fountain of tears that I may weep by night and day? (Poliziano, after Jeremiah 9:1); A wolf and the lamb The wolf, urged by an insatiable gullet, puts forward several false accusations to justify slaughtering the fearful lamb; a fable on account of those who oppress the innocent under false pretences. (Phaedrus, 15BC-AD50)