• Judith Weir
  • A Song of Departure (2017)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Schubert Ensemble Trust

  • pf/vn.va.vc.db
  • 4 min

Programme Note

Thinking about the Schubert Ensemble’s farewell season, I recalled Schubert’s famous song Abschied (from Schwanengesang, words by Rellstab). The narrator departs on horseback, bidding a cheerful or perhaps defiant goodbye (‘Ade!’) to town, trees, gardens, maidens. Faint misgivings strike him only in the final verse, where the music at last visits a minor key; before rejoining the major mode and trotting off into the distance.

For this brief (four minute) farewell piece I have tried to ‘re-inhabit’ Schubert’s Abschied. After a brief evocation of its musical themes (in a faster tempo – this is a speedier horse) there are goodbye waves in turn from viola, violin, cello, bass and piano. By the time the coda is reached, the performers seem to have travelled swiftly up the road, already out of sight.

A Song of Departure is dedicated to the Schubert Ensemble, my dear friends and colleagues of the last thirty-five years.

Programme note by Judith Weir