• Peter Dickinson
  • Auden Studies (1988)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)
  • oboepf
  • 10 min

Programme Note

1. Ecstatico: 'Carry her over the Water'

2. Tragico:'Eyes look into the Well'

3. Giocoso: 'What's in your Mind'

The Auden Studies were commissioned by the Chester Festival and North West Arts and first performed at St Mary's Centre, Chester, on 16 July 1988 by Sarah Francis and Peter Dickinson.

The work was a tribute to Sir Lennox Berkeley (1903-1989) in his 85th birthday year and each of the three movements is based on a poem by W. H. Auden set by Peter Dickinson in 1956 (Four W. H. Auden Songs) and also by Berkeley (Five Poems of W. H. Auden, Op 53) in 1958. Peter Dickinson met Auden who came to a private performance of his songs in Cambridge: Lennox Berkeley and Auden were contemporaries at Oxford.

Each movement of the Auden Studies fuses the music of the two composers’ settings rather like a joint composition or two pieces of music superimposed. This reflects the technique of Dickinson's music at that time as well as his admiration for Berkeley over many years. He wrote the first study of Berkeley's music (The Music of Lennox Berkeley, Boydell Press 2003) and gave many performances of the songs with his sister, mezzo Meriel Dickinson.

Berkeley's songs have been recorded by Philip Langridge and Stuart Bedford [Naxos 8.557204] and Dickinson's by Meriel Dickinson and the composer [Albany TROY 365].