David Fisher - Let us build for ever

Let us build for ever


Children's choir, piano and 10 percussionists: Scaffold poles x 4, Bucket, Brick, Block, Plywood, Aluminium stepladder.

David Fisher - Let us build for ever

Other Information

“Let us build for ever” [1997] is scored for children’s choir, ten percussionists & piano and was commissioned by the Barfield School Parent Staff Association. The choir from Barfield School, with pianist Jean Stevens, was conducted by Richard Stevens who has commissioned each of the composer’s works for the Farnham Festival. The première performance was in the Great Hall, Farnham Maltings, March 17th 1997 and the première of the orchestral version was at the same venue on March 15th 2005. Other performances include the opening of the new concert hall of Barfield School (February 1999) in the presence of Virginia Bottomley and by Kingfisher Chorale (November 2002) at St James the Greater, Leicester.

Percussion [both versions]:

Scaffold Pipe [12.5 cm] – tiny hammer;Scaffold Pipe [25 cm] – small hammer; Scaffold Pipe [50 cm] – medium hammer; Scaffold Pipe [100 cm] – large hammer; Metal Bucket – hand-held hit with 60 cm broom handle; Aluminium Stepladder – hit with 2 x 60 cm broom handle; Engineering Brick – scraped [flat] or hit [edge] with small trowel *; Concrete Block – scraped [flat] or hit [edge] with large trowel *; 45 cm Plywood Square – minimum 2 cm thick, hit with 2 small wooden mallets +; Rough Sandpaper – stuck to wooden base, played with stiff hand-brush or sandpaper block +; piano.

* safety goggles are essential for these.

+ placing these on wooden orange boxes will help with sound. 

Instruments [revised version only]:

Flutes 1 & 2; Oboe; Clarinets 1 & 2; Trumpets 1 & 2; Violins.  


When the work was first written Richard Stevens and I discussed overalls, hard, hats, gloves, high visibility jackets & safety goggles with cones, warning lights and “men at work” signs as optional extras. Imagination is to be used if it is to match the invention of the première performance which set an inspired comic scenario! If the revised version is to be played, do not dress the instrumentalists like the percussionists but zone their area with black and yellow cautionary tape.

Review of the première by J.L.V. [The Farnham Herald – 21st March 1997]:

“Let us build for ever involved well over 100 pupils…the ‘builders (otherwise percussionists0 clad in hard hats and yellow reflective clothing replete with traffic cones and road signs. The instruments included four lengths of scaffolding poles, breeze-block and trowels and sandpaper on plywood. The apposite text came from Psalm 127 together with a poem juxtaposing the mechanics of building with the work of developing children’s minds. After a short declamatory theme on the piano, the opening recitative states the Latin words of the psalm against a spoken translation. There are two percussion interludes signifying the work of building, interspersed with the building theme in Latin. The piece ends with a four part canon which modulates higher in the final statement signifying the building’s completion. The children performed it with clear enjoyment and the composer told me afterwards that he had made no concessions in his writing and he was very pleased with the result.”

A member of the audience wrote:

“I found the piece and utter delight…it was novel; clever without being pretentious and very interesting. The children enjoyed it as well and at the end of the piece I fervently wished to be able to experience the whole event again! ”  

Review from the Farnham Herald of the 2005 performance on 15th March:

“Over 130 children from Barfield School performed “Let us build for ever” by David Fisher. Originally written for Barfield to mark at the school’s building development in 1997, with more new buildings completed this year, the composer has revised the work and given it for this year’s festival.

The sea of blue uniformed were joined by roadwork signs, orange warning lights and boys in hard hats and fluorescent jackets who played a variety of unusual percussion, including scaffolding poles, a step ladder, a bucket, a concrete block, wood and sandpaper. With words from Psalm 127 – “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. Children are a heritage of the Lord”, the piece opened with chanting in Latin and then spoken in English. The work builds using percussion, voices and instrumentalists as a real wall is being built during the performance. An effective four-part canon section leads up to the completion of the building. The children obviously enjoyed the performance, directed enthusiastically by Richard Stevens and accompanied by Jean Stevens (piano), and a competent orchestra of trumpets, flutes, clarinets and violins, all from the school. Finally the composer was applauded onto the stage and given a red rose.”  

David Fisher - Let us build for ever

David Fisher - Let us build for ever