• Anthony Payne
  • Footfalls Echo In The Memory (1978)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)
  • Violinpf
  • 12 min

Programme Note

Footfalls Echo in the Memory- for Violin and Piano

The title of this work is taken from the first of T S Eliot's 'Four Quartets', 'Burnt Norton':

'Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened'

Back in 1971 I wrote a piano piece, PAEAN, and at the time I was worried by the feeling that for every creative decision I took there was an equally valid alternative, 'the passages which I did not take'. Although at the end I felt I had got the piece right, I was nagged for ever after by the thought that there was a shadow work, a twin brother or sister perhaps, which needed to be brought into existence by taking some of those alternative decisions. FOOTFALLS ECHO IN THE MEMORY is that work. While I was
thinking myself back into the world of PAEAN in order to take those alternative routes, I was also very much conscious of further resonances of Eliot:

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

PAEAN had opened with a Toccata, alternating insistent quaver patterns with freer material, later developing each type of music. FOOTFALLS ECHO IN THE MEMORY takes only the quaver patterns and builds three big paragraphs, each ending with developing music where the regular quavers grow into irrational rhythms, septuplets, quintuplets, triplets etc, which strive against each other, building a head of steam.

At the equivalent place in PAEAN, the music had relaxed into a central Aria: here, a little Scherzo is launched, using entirely new music which does eventually die and give way to an Aria. Inspired by Bach's phenomenal inventiveness in reworking material, I now took the rhythmic outline of the Aria in PAEAN in every particular, and substituted totally different pitches, producing a twin movement of sorts. In PAEAN the Aria had led to a substantial final section, here there is just a coda, which refers back to the central Scherzo and the opening section, tying up loose ends in as concentrated a manner as possible.

Anthony Payne, 1978