Movement of Autumn


by David Matthews

soprano and orchestra
Solo Voices with Orchestra, Soprano
Vernon Watkins
1(=picc).1(=ca).1.1 - 1100 - perc(1): vib/2 timp/2 susp.cym/chinese cym/tam-t/antique cyms. in Bb above middle C - strings (min 44321)
Commissioned by Presteigne Festival of Music and the Arts
First Performance
30.8.05: Presteigne Festival, Presteigne: Rachell Nicholls/Presteigne Festival Orchestra/George Vass

Score and parts for hire

Programme Notes
David Matthews MOVEMENT OF AUTUMN, op 97 Five poems of Vernon Watkins for high voice and chamber orchestra In 2003 I contributed to A Garland for Presteigne, a sequence of twelve songs for soprano and piano by ten composers celebrating the 21st birthday of the Presteigne Festival. My contribution was a setting of two verses of Vernon Watkins's poem 'For a Wine Festival', an elaboration of a brief setting of the first verse which I had composed in 1991 as a silver wedding present for my friends Anthony Payne and Jane Manning. When George Vass commissioned me to write a chamber orchestral song cycle for the 2005 Presteigne festival, he suggested that I make an orchestral version of this song, and so I have begun the cycle with it. In this third version I found myself able to include the last verse of the poem. I chose four more of Watkins's poems to make a sequence about the natural world in late summer and autumn which, in a general way, meditates on the turning of the year towards winter and the rebirth of spring and, in 'Kestrel', focuses on a single creature, a hawk riding masterfully over a stormy sea; this marvellous poem invites comparison with Hopkins's 'Windhover'. 'Moonrise', the cycle's still centre, is a nocturne in which nature and human love come together with tender intimacy. The cycle has a harmonic unity in that all the songs are based on the same chord, in different transpositions. The scoring is for single wind, horn and trumpet, percussion (predominately vibraphone) and strings. 'Moonrise' is scored only for muted strings, plus a tamtam; while 'Kestrel', a scherzo, omits the strings except for a solo bass, and the trumpet is frequently in duet with the soloist. Movement of Autumn is dedicated to my dear friend and colleague Donald Mitchell in the year of his 80th birthday. Movement of Autumn was commissioned by Presteigne Festival of Music and the Arts. David Matthews

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