• Anthony Payne
  • First Sight of Her and After (1989)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Choral parts for sale

  • 0111/1000/perc/vn.va.vc.db
  • SATB
  • 17 min
  • Thomas Hardy
  • English

Programme Note

This cycle to poems of Thomas Hardy, which is performed without a break, attempts to trace the course of a man' s experience: of love from the first magic awakenings to final remembrances. To do this I chose poems by a writer with whose sensibility and personality I have always felt strongly in tune. The emergence of sexual awareness, bewitching yet inexplicable, is suggested in 'Lyonesse', with its irrational combination of texture music, speech, snatches of song and harmony, and hypnotic long held notes. The second setting is a love song, which at the close suddenly reveals itself to be retrospective and descends into the melancholy of 'The Wound' where quiet, still harmony and recited verse show the protagonist gaining lonely consolation from hiding his loss. This is followed by a grinner experience: in 'In Tenebris', as the mind's grip momentarily loosens and despair releases more irrational texture music. In 'Going and staying' philosophic acceptance is recaptured by means of polyphonic growth, but the positive qualities achieved here, seemingly the work's goal, prove not to be conclusive, and the work ends ambivalently in nostalgia.

The title, which seemed too exact a description to miss, comes from another Hardy poem which I did not include.

FIRST SIGHT OF HER , AND AFTER which won a Radcliffe Music Award
was first performed by the John Alldis Choir and con:nducted by
John Alldis on 4 December 1975 at the Wigmore Hall, London
during the Park Lane Group 1975/76 season.