The Settling of the Sun: Music, Art and Literary References.


With the UK entering the season of winter it seems quite appropriate to write a post on the Morse episode, ‘The Settling of the Sun’. I hope you enjoy the post. Like all those boring but necessary terms and conditions we find on almost all products here are my T&Cs but without the need to sign anything. 🙂

Once I have finished with each series I will post a downloadable excel sheet for each category; music, art and literary references. This would allow everyone who downloads said excel sheets to print them off for personal use. Hopefully, having these print outs next to you while you watch the episode will be of help in identifying your favourite pieces of music from all three series. In the same vein the downloadable excel sheets will I hope help in your enjoyment and appreciation of the art and literary references used in all three series.

Of course I am not infallible (I know I was shocked to realise that trait in myself😉 ) so if you should spot an error or omission then please let me know and I will update my post with the new information.

The time of the pieces of music et cetera are based on the British DVD versions of the shows. However, the times shown should not be to dissimilar from other countries versions or should be easy to pinpoint what I am referring to and when.

The Settling of the Sun. (Series 2, Episode 3)

(Chronologically this is episode 6)

(The times are set as hh/mm/ss, i.e. hours, minutes and seconds).


The first piece of music is at the beginning of the episode.


This piece of music is scattered throughout the episode. It is a piece by English composer Edward Elgar (1857-1934). The music piece is called ‘The Dream of Gerontius, Op38, Pt II:I’. The libretto is based on a poem by  Blessed John Henry Newman. The poem is about  the prayer of a dying man, and angelic and demonic responses.

The complete poem can be found by clicking here. The page will open in a new window.

The piece of music used at the start of the episode starts at 22m25s. The extract used in the episode is sung by Dame Felicity Joan Palmer, DBE, an English mezzo-soprano. She plays the part of the Angel. The libretto of the extract is below;

There was a mortal, who is now above
In the mid-glory: he, when near to die,
Was given communion with the Crucified, –
Such that the Masters very wounds were stamped
Upon his flesh; and from the agony
Which thrilled through body and soul in that embrace,
Learn that the flame of the Everlasting Love
Doth burn ere it transform. . .


The next piece of music is being played in Morse’s car as he drives to cemetery. The piece is by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) and is called ‘St John Passion‘.


While Morse drives Jane to his house we hear a short extract from the Polish composer Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849). The piece is called ‘Opus 10, Piano Etude No’ 5‘.


While still in the car with Morse driving Jane to his house, Morse changes the tape from the above Chopin to Edward Elgar’s ‘Enigma Variations’.


Morse is sat at home contemplating the case or his relationship with Jane. He is listening to the German composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). The piece he is listening to is the ‘String Quartet No. 15′.


While Morse is talking to Mrs Warbut we hear the musical piece ‘De Jules Lemaitre’ by the French composer Jehan Ariste Alain (1911-1940).


The last piece of music in this episode is played while Morse first talks to the young girl, Alex in Jane’s flat and continues as he drives her to the hospital to see Jane. It is another section of the first piece of music above, ‘The Dream of Gerontius, Op38, Pt II:I‘.

If you enjoy all the music from the Morse series I have collected all the pieces I have identified thus far and have created playlists on YouTube. On how to access these playlists please read the relevant post by clicking here.



The first scene is a shot of a statue outside the Bodleian Library.


The bronze statue is of William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, Chancellor of the University 1617-30, cast by Hubert Le Sueur to the design of Peter Paul Rubens. The inscriptions at the base of the statue testify to this. Le Sueur  is also responsible for the statues of King Charles and Queen Henrietta Maria (King and Queen of England 1625-1649) St. John’s College (Canterbury Quad).

Oxford - King Charles and Queen Henrietta Maria Oxford - King Charles and Queen Henrietta Maria

Le Sueur also created the bronze statute at Charing Cross in London of King Charles I Dunfermline Palace 1600 – Whitehall Palace 1649 King of England, 1625-1649.

London / King Charles I


There are many paintings on the walls of the dining hall where the foreign guests are having dinner with Morse at the top table. All literature and online sites state that the college is Brasenose but I have to disagree. Having looked at many, many photos of Brasenose and their paintings within their buildings I find it hard to come to the conclusion that it is Brasenose.

So, to that end I have written to the Archivist at Brasenose and asked her if she has any information on said matter. I will of course let all of you know the answer to my query.


This painting is next to the television in the snooker room.


Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the Uniform of the Scots Guards, on ‘Imperial’ by the Scottish painter Leonard Boden (1911–1999).

Painting of Countess Olivia Vorbarra Vorkosigan before her demise at Mad Yuri's hands. She enjoyed riding with her husband, Count Piotr Vorkosigan.:

Boden painted 19 portraits of members of the British Royal family, including ten of Queen Elizabeth II and five of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.


Next we have a painting on the wall of Morse’s house which has been seen only slightly in previous episodes.


The print is called  ‘Birds eye view of London as seen from a balloon, 1884‘.

It is by W. L. Wyllie and H. W. Brewer and is engraved from sketches taken by the engravers from a hot air balloon above London. A colour version is also available.


Our last painting is shown during the scene when Morse is talking to Mrs Warbut in the chapel.


The above painting is a reworking by somebody of Graham Sutherland‘s painting ‘The Crucifixion’, painted in 1946.

Graham Sutherland: The Crucifixion,1946 St Matthew’s, Northampton

The above painting can be found at St Matthew’s in Northampton.



The following quote is said by Sir Wilfred Mulryne during his talk to the foreign students after their dinner.

“Sub pallio sordido sapientia” translated as “Wisdom is often hidden under a shabby cloak.”  A Quote by Statius Caecilius, also known as Caecilius Statius (c. 220 BC – c. 166 BC) a Roman comic poet.


Morse says to Lewis, “The most suspicious thing of all is an excellent alibi.” I wonder if the screenplay writer Charles Wood was paraphrasing the crime writer Robert Barnard who wrote in his novel ‘At Death’s Door‘, “They say it’s the ones with the perfect alibis that are the most suspicious“. Like Colin Dexter, Robert Barnard was a British crime writer and recipient of the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award. Both writers were also included in the crime anthology ‘The Detection Collection‘.


Well we have come to the end of another post and I hope you have enjoyed it or at the least went away with an urge to re-watch the episode.

The next post in the series will be the art, music and literary references of the Morse episode, ‘Last Bus to Woodstock’.

Author: Chris Sullivan

After having looked after my mum for some 11 years she is now unfortunately in a nursing home. I'm afraid her dementia worsened as did her physical capabilities. So, for the first time in 21 years I find myself no longer caring for anyone. Apart from my mum I was also a single parent to two children and also looked after my dad who had Alzheimers, (he died in 2005). So, I have decided to return to University to try and get another degree this time in English Literature. (My other degree I got some 30 years ago is one in Ecological Science). After a year at college I have passed all grades and now will start Edinburgh University in September 2019. A busy time ahead made even busier by my writing a book on the TV series, Lewis.

One thought

  1. Hello Chris,

    1. I would never have guessed the mezzo singing the Elgar oratorio! There is, indeed, a version sung by Felicity Palmer and released in 1988, the same year of the second series! I don’t own the recording, but the voice does sounds like Palmer’s.

    2. I wonder whether the Giotto-Dali exhibition’s images of Christ that appear during the first three minutes are by a well-known artist.


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