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Programme Notes

1. Song for Judith

2. Song for Elaine

3. Song for Gemma

Journeying Songs began as a single piece which was composed in the autumn of 2004, much of it conceived on a long walk along the Suffolk coast in September that year. The opening tune is a 'walking tune' in C minor, and has a folkish character; in fact there is a kinship with the Spanish/Arabic folksong 'El Rey de Francia', a setting of which for piano quartet Judith Weir wrote as a fiftieth birthday present to me in 1993; so in return I dedicated this piece to her in her own fiftieth birthday year. There are two distinct sections, played without a break: the first is a set of variations on the 'walking tune'; the second, a further series of variations on the first part, but Molto energico. The coda returns to a slow tempo, and is a little Pastoral, with another version of the opening tune accompanied by distant horn-like calls. ‘Song for Elaine’ was composed in July 2007 for Elaine Gould in celebration of her twenty years as chief editor for Faber Music. Elaine is also a cellist and the piece was written for her to play. ‘Song for Gemma’ was written for Gemma Rosefield in the summer of 2008. It was composed during several journeys: begun at home in London, it was continued on a holiday in Crete, was resumed at my seaside house in Deal, and finished on a trip to Helsinki. Whether all those places affected the character of the music I don’t know. The first part of the piece alternates Andante trasognato (‘dreaming’) and Allegro appassionato sections; the andante opening in fact emerged out of a dream. The culmination of the third Allegro section is a broad, song-like tune which while not intended as a direct portrait of Gemma is certainly a tribute to her intensely expressive playing, which I could hear in my mind all the time I was writing her piece. It was while I was writing ‘Song for Gemma’ that I decided to put the three pieces together, and ideally they should be played as a group, though each piece can also be performed separately. No. 1 of Journeying Songs was commissioned by the Hampstead and Highgate Festival with funds provided by the John S.Cohen Foundation. Song for Gemma (No. 3 of Journeying Songs) was commissioned by Gemma Rosefield and the Presteigne Festival.

© David Matthews

Journeying Songs

Fellowship House (London, United Kingdom)

Gemma Rosefield

Journeying Songs

Song for Judith only

St George's Church, Hanover Square (London, United Kingdom)

Yoanna Prodanova

Journeying Songs


Wade Street Church (Lichfield, Staffordshire, United Kingdom)

Laura Armstrong

Journeying Songs


Purcell Room, Southbank Centre (London, United Kingdom)

Park Lane Group

Journeying Songs

Song No. 1

No Venue (Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom)

Gemma Rosefield