Meditation for violin and pianoforces: Violin, Piano
duration: Ca 6'40"
published by: Composers Edition
This little piece was written for my daughter and me to play together privately at home. However, it may be of some interest and value to anyone seeking a short, freestanding recital item with a deliberately archaic character. I had been fond of the poem ‘Autumn’ by Thomas Hood [1799-1846] for many years before sitting down one day to write this music on an impulse. The result reflects not only my own affection for instrumental music of the Elizabethan period, but also the way in which certain movements by Warlock, Finzi, Moeran and others become a kind of palimpsest, with the amiable ghosts of much earlier music peeping intermittently through the pastoral sounds of the English early twentieth century. In particular, Autumn pays affectionate tribute to Finzi’s Introit for violin and chamber orchestra, the slow movement from a violin concerto of which the composer apparently withdrew the other parts, but which has recently been recorded in toto. Hood’s evocation of ‘…the drownèd past’ makes mention of no specific period. Accordingly the music here is content to migrate seamlessly between a far-distant past and something relatively recent – though still hardly contemporary. There is one intruder, however, in the form of a brief imitative motif which incongruously – and, at the time, subconsciously – reflected my enthusiasm for the splendid fugue which ends Samuel Barber’s Piano Sonata.
The following extracted lines from Thomas Hood’s poem appear at the head of the published score:
I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
Stand shadowless like Silence, listening…
…Where are the songs of Summer? – With the sun,
Oping the dusky eyelids of the south…
…Where are the blooms of Summer? – In the west,
Blushing their last to the last sunny hours…
The swallows all have wing’d across the main;
But here the Autumn melancholy dwells
…Like a dim picture of the drowned past
In the hush’d mind’s mysterious far away.