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brueghel's winter (2023)

for SATB choir, and a solo soprano from a distance

ca. 6' minutes

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Brueghel's Winter (2023)

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Jagg'd mountain peaks and skies ice-green

Wall in the wild, cold scene below.

Churches, farms, bare copse, the sea

In freezing quiet of winter show;

Where ink-black shapes on fields in flood

Curling, skating, and sliding go.

To left, a gabled tavern; a blaze;

Peasants; a watching child; and lo,

Muffled, mute--beneath naked trees

In sharp perspective set a-row--

Trudge huntsmen, sinister spears aslant,

Dogs snuffling behind them in the snow;

And arrowlike, lean, athwart the air

Swoops into space a crow.

But flame, nor ice, nor piercing rock,

Nor silence, as of a frozen sea,

Nor that slant inward infinite line

Of signboard, bird, and hill, and tree,

Give more than subtle hint of him

Who squandered here life's mystery.

Walter De La Mare

program notes

Written over the course of 5 days in the summer of 2023, Brueghel's Winter tells the story — and was directly inspired by — Pieter Brueghel's 1565 masterpiece Hunter's in Snow, and Walter De La Mare's eponymous poem about the same subject.

Brueghel's painting finds us looking at brief moment; of hunters being caught in action. The music stretches this single painted frame out with a dramatic narrative arc over the course of 6 minutes by telling the audience what might've occurred, before and after that single captured image.

We start at night, while the hunters are still sound asleep, we follow them going about their day, while at some point in the middle Brueghel's actual painting is finally expressed through music.

Much gratitude also needs to be owed to Diederik Glorieux and Hannes Vanlancker for their expert compositional guidance throughout the writing process.


Listen to the original premiere recording of the opening section of this work (SSAA voices only) premiered by the Flemish Radio Choir and conducted by Diederik Glorieux, on July 7th, 2023, in Alden Biezen, Belgium.

Subsequent performances:

De 2e Adem, Ars Vocalis Kortrijk and Huniyagar conducted by Maarten van Ingelgem on March 17th, 2024 in Harelbeke (Sint-Salvator Church), Belgium

Recording of the complete version coming soon . . .


Artboard 1

A great piece! I love the close harmonies at II. and the chromaticism that follows. I also really like the transition into the Piu Meno Mosso section near the end.

— andrew mckenzie

Artboard 1

Beautiful music to match a beautiful painting. What an impressive atmosphere.

— jacques tournier

portrait of milo paulus


Milo Paulus (b. August 14th, 1999) is a Dutch composer, conductor, orchestrator and score producer specializing in original music for concerts, screen and stage productions. His catalog spans a diverse range of styles and influences for both instrumental and vocal works, as well as countless original soundtracks for films and video-games. His works have been commissioned by various performing groups, festivals and institutions.

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