Music to a Poet’s Journey Op 1

This work is part of the “John Clare”  series. Op 1

Instrumentation: Fl; Ob; Cl(Bb); Hn; Violin I; Viola; Cello ; D Bass ; Piano

Duration: 12 minutes

Date of Composition: 1980

Performance: Lontano; Odaline de la Martinez; ICA London

Programme Note: (This work is currently only available in manuscript).

This was the first piece that I wrote based upon the work of John Clare. It specifically refers to the journey the poet made in escaping from High Beech asylum in the New Forest, and walking the nearly one hundred miles home to his cottage in Northborough. His description of his escapade makes for stark reading, but shows the strength of character that Clare had, and it was this prose writing that gave me the idea for the piece. It is written for a conventional mixed ensemble, and was composed not long after I had been to Dartington Summer School, and witnessed the compositional teaching of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, which proved revelatory for me. Looking back at it now after such a time, I can see that it has a conventional introduction, followed by a main section which climaxes towards a piano solo, and then more quietly ruminates in a coda to finish. It is not intended to be programmatic in any way, and with hindsight seems quite abstract in the manner of late twentieth century chamber pieces.

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