The Seal Lullaby (Eric Whitacre)

We are proud to partner with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra for our fourth Virtual VOX project.

The Seal Lullaby was originally composed for an animated film and portrays a mother seal singing tenderly to her young pup. It is one of our favourite pieces and was performed at Trust the Silences and A Choral Anthology: Celebrating the Words Behind the Music.

It is a setting of a poem by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), author of The Jungle Book and a frequent visitor to the Cape, who would have been familiar with these beautiful coastal creatures. In the song, the mother seal lovingly comforts her infant with the words “the night is behind us” suggesting, for us, that the worst of this difficult time may have passed.

Eric Whitacre, the composer, has transcribed the piece for many different combinations of instruments and voices but it has not yet, to our knowledge, been performed by a choral ensemble together with an orchestra, making this (virtual) rendition the first of its kind!

We are grateful to the Cape Philharmonic for their invitation to participate in this project and to the orchestral musicians for joining us. Many of our former singers also contributed to this virtual recording as part of our fifth anniversary celebrations.

Local underwater footage was generously provided by Charles Maxwell. Grant McLachlan once again provided invaluable assistance and, this time, makes an appearance in the recording as the pianist!

We hope that you will enjoy this special online performance! With the further easing of national lockdown restrictions, we increasingly look forward to being able to sing for you in person again, safely and responsibly.

Oh! Hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us,
And black are the waters that sparkled so green.
The moon, o’er the combers, looks downward to find us
At rest in the hollows that rustle between.
Where billow meets billow, there soft be thy pillow;
Ah, weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease!
The storm shall not wake thee, nor shark overtake thee,
Asleep in the arms of slow-swinging seas.


Rudyard Kipling

18 September 2020