• Anthony Payne
  • Spring's Shining Wake (1982)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)
  • 1121/2000/perc/str(
  • 15 min

Programme Note

Spring’s Shining Wake, which was composed in the Summer 1980 and Autumn of 1981, is the realisation of a project which I had had in mind for some years. It shadows the course of a late-romantic masterpiece – Delius’ ‘In a Summer Garden’ – without in any way quoting from it; and because of my very strong reservations about neo-classicism, and neo-romanticism, and of more overt quoting games such as are found in, say, Berio’s ‘Sinfonia’, I feel an apology is necessary. There is a danger of pieces being written about other pieces or styles, instead of presenting artistic vision direct. The use of quotation or of neo-classic and other allusive styles, however sophisticated, is often an indication of unhealthy psychological dependence, and an avoidance of the problem of expressing personal vision here and now.

Delius was a composer with whom I identified very strongly in my early twenties, and I feel I did not develop individually as a composer until I had placed psychological distance between his music and that of the other late romantic English composers I loved. Spring’s Shining Wake celebrates the detachment I eventually achieved, indicating my abiding feeling for such music yet my ability to stand back. In it, my present is connected with my past.

Opening on entirely personal and independent ground, only very loosely related to the model, the work then proceeds to find equivalents in my vocabulary for every structural and textural move in the Delius. Thus it sometimes approaches close to Delius’ work, at other times, for technical and stylistic reasons, moves some way away. The spirit of the two pieces is also rather different. ‘In a Summer Garden’ is a serene work largely lacking the nostalgic overtones that often colour Delius’ music. My piece does paradoxically become a little nostalgic, for it speaks of experiences, not only musical ones, that will probably never be repeated; the trace, or ‘wake’, left on the mind after Spring has passed. It is, and I think will remain, very much a work ‘sui generis’ in my output, a little outside the natural expressive and stylistic progress of the rest of my music. I will probably not attempt a similar experiment, but I’m pleased to have explored his little side-path just once.

It is scored for seven wind and strings with small percussion, and was commissioned by Michael Lankester with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain.

Anthony Payne, December 1983


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