Home 9 Composers 9 Allan Bevan

Allan Bevan was born in Toronto, and did his undergraduate studies in music at the University of Windsor, and at Queen’s University in Kingston. His composition teachers and mentors include Istvan Anhalt, Howard Bashaw, Allan Bell, Clifford Crawley, David Eagle, Malcolm Forsyth, Paul McIntyre, and William Jordan. Mr. Bevan holds the M. Mus. degree from the University of Alberta and a Ph. D. in Composition from the University of Calgary.
His choral compositions have been awarded significant prizes in Canadian, American, and European composition competitions. Dr. Bevan’s Passion Oratorio Nou Goth Sonne Under Wode was selected as the Outstanding Choral Work by The Association of Canadian Choral Conductors at their 2008 convention. His To Morning, a recent composition for string orchestra was awarded the Member’s Prize in the 2006 “Mozart-250” competition sponsored by Chamber Orchestra Kremlin of Moscow. He is the winner of the 2002 Ruth Watson Henderson Award for his motet Peace, and he is a three-time recipient of first prize awards in the Association of Canadian Choral Conductor’s Composition Competitions for his music for treble voices and piano (2000, 2002, 2004.) He has been commissioned and performed by many of Canada’s finest choirs and by the CBC. His works have been performed, recorded, and broadcast across North America, Europe, and Asia, and he has approximately fifty published compositions and arrangements. Allan Bevan has been described as “an extremely talented composer of ravishing sacred choral music” by The American Organist and as a “composer [who] obviously understands and is able to write for the voice in an uncanny fashion” by The Choral Room.

All Suddenly the Wind

by Allan Bevan

SATB with piano  –   CP 1490   – duration 2:30
Allan brings the Rupert Brooke poem to life with this exquisite setting. Winter breaks and with Spring comes hope. The metaphor for our lives is subtly apparent.

An End

by Allan Bevan
SSAA with piano   CP 1090   – duration 6:40
The first in Bevan’s tryptich “For a Dream’s Sake”, text by Christina Rosetti. A powerful statement about the realities of the human condition on this earth.

Ave Maria

by Allan Bevan

SA with piano  –   CP 1049   – duration 4:00
Winner of the ACCC composers competition in 2000, the piece requires two good soprano soloists and an equally good pianist. Divisi is two part. Suitable for women’s or accomplished children’s choir. Rollin Smith wrote in “The American Organist” (January 2005): Allan Bevan is an extremely talented composer of ravishing sacred choral music in a traditional style….if your choir can’t sing this “Ave Maria” you should hire two good sopranos to perform it just so your congregation can hear something as beautiful as this! The two soloists rest after the first eight measures while the two-part trebles continue. Then the soloists sing to the end, and the “choir” only joins with them in the last three measures. The piece could be sung by a two-part choir or just two soloists. This is beyond recommended!


by Allan Bevan

SSAA with piano   CP 1083   – duration 4:45
With poetry by Christina Rosetti, this lovely piece is both melancholic and introspective and exuberant and joyful. There are mouth watering harmonies as with all of Allan’s work.

Evening Song

by Allan Bevan

SATB with piano   CP 2251   – duration 4:45
With poetry by Sidney Lanier:
Come forth, sweet stars, and comfort heaven’s heart;
      Glimmer, ye waves, round else unlighted sands.
O night! divorce our sun and sky apart
                        Never our lips, our hands.

Full Fathom Five

by Allan Bevan

SATB with piano – CP 1929   – duration 5:25
TTBB with piano – CP 1928
Full fathom five thy father lies,
Of his bones are coral made, 
Those are pearls that were his eyes: 
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange. 

Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell. 

Hark! Now I hear them: ding, dong, bell.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) 
Song from The Tempest, Act I, Scene 2 

Harp of Wild

by Allan Bevan

SSAA with piano  – CP 1862   – duration 4:00
Harp of Wild sets a text by Emily Bronte (1818-1848) who wrote her poetry in a kind of “white heat”. Perhaps as a result of the speed at which she wrote, the poem exhibits improvisatory and ephemeral qualities that I wanted to somehow capture in my setting. The theme of the text describes how the sound of the poet’s harp is perceived by the writer, both now and in the past. She remembers the “good old days” and the beautiful and happy sounds that the harp used to produce. She contrasts this sharply with how the harp only seems able to elicit disillusionment, and “sounds of sorrow” now.

The piano in my setting is used to suggest the harp and it helps to provide support for the divergent colourings of each of her stanzas. With its insistent repetition of small figures the piano suggests the ‘stubbornness’ of the recurring memories that the writer experiences throughout the poem. The conflict between 3/4 and 6/8 in the choral parts describes the unsettled feeling of the narration and the duality of bittersweet emotion that the poem exhibits. The 6/8 meter and the nature of the opening choral melody with its repetition of the melodic third is another important element in conveying the writer’s intense nostalgia for the untroubled times of the past.

I See His Blood Upon the Rose

by Allan Bevan

SATB a cappella  –   CP 1697   – duration 2:30
‘I See His Blood Upon a Rose’ is a poem in the mystical tradition, expressing the intensity of Plunkett’s Christian faith. These simple verses ify to the presence of the divine in the world, reading in nature the iconography of the crucifixion. At the centre of the poem lies the conviction that Christ’s suffering will never be forgotten, as long as God’s word remains the bedrock of existence. Here the deeply personal becomes universal through an unworldly directness of address. Allan Bevan coveys the poem with beautiful music.

J’appartiens (I Belong)

by France Levasseur-Ouimet  arr  Allan Bevan

SATB with piano  –   CP 1502   – duration 4:40
SSA  with piano  –   CP 1524
Regardless of colour or creed, we are all immigrants – one way or another – and we all belong. This stirring anthem goes straight to the heart.

Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal

by Allan Bevan

SATB a cappella  –   CP 1343   – duration 4:10 
A poignant poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson set to gorgeous music. Listen to this rendering by a community choir to realized that it is eminently singable.


by Allan Bevan

SSAA with piano  –   CP 1089   – duration 4:05
The second in the set of three compositions by Allan Bevan, titled “For a Dream’s Sake”, using a text by Christina Rosetti. Together with “An End” and “Echo” Bevan manages to convey the poet’s preoccupation with a disillusionment that she came to understand as a natural condition of human love. Harmonic structure, accompaniment, dynamics, all paint a bittersweet picture of hope and lost love.

Noël existe-t-il encore?

by France Levasseur-Ouimet, arr. Allan Bevan

SATB with piano   CP 1798   – duration 6:00
This very thoughtful Christmas composition asks a serious question and gives an affirming answer.
Y’a des gens pour qui Noël n’est plus qu’un lourd fardeau de plus à porter
There are people for whom Christmas is more of a heavy burden than a celebration 


by France Levasseur-Ouimet  arr  Allan Bevan

SSA  with piano  –   CP 1217   – duration 4:10
SATB with piano  –   CP 1261
France wrote the poignant melody and text, Allan wrote a masterful choral arrangement. Listen to a young choir from Lyon give it a beautiful rendition.
Speak to me of the sea. Tell me its story so that I may become a sailor.
Speak to me of the prairies. Tell me their story so that I may be able to see beyond the horizon.
Speak to me of the earth. Tell me its story so that I may become its guardian.

Pont Mirabeau, Le

by Allan Bevan

SATB with piano  –   CP 1275 –    
Guillaume Apollinaire’s bittersweet poem was an obvious inspiration to Allan. The author looks over the railing and thinks “loves flows away like water under this bridge.”

Souls of the Righteous, The

by Allan Bevan

TTBB a cappella  –  CP 1710   – duration 4:10
SATB a cappella  –   CP 1075
This work, like most of Allan’s, is very lush and evocative. This one uses the biblical text in a hymn-like setting that goes far beyond a hymn. It is challenging for the singers and very satisfying for the audience.

To Morning

by Allan Bevan

SSA with piano  –   CP 1076   – duration 3:45
Allan has set a poem by William Blake to a wonderful tapestry of rich and lush harmonies. Piano accompaniment is romantic and has challenges, but is a delight to play.

Voices of Earth

by Allan Bevan

SSA with piano  –   CP 1810   – duration 4:30
The poem by Archibald Lampman (1861-1899) could have been written yesterday – for its timely message about our wonderful world. Floating melodies, intuitive harmonies and inventive accompaniment make this another Bevan classic.

Yeats' Cradle Song

by Allan Bevan

SA with piano  –   CP 2259   – duration 2:28

The angels are stooping
Above your bed;
They weary of trooping
With the whimpering dead.
God’s laughing in Heaven
To see you so good;
The Sailing Seven
Are gay with His mood.
I sigh that kiss you,
For I must own
That I shall miss you
When you have grown.

William Butler Yeats [1865-1939]