Roman Canticle - Two in the Campagna


medium voice, flute, viola and harp
Browning R (Author)
Alto, Mixed Chamber Ensemble
Two in the Campagna by Robert Browning
Commissioned by the Nash Ensemble with funds provided by IBM (UK) onthe occasion of their 25th anniversary in 1989
First Performance
4.11.89, Wigmore Hall, London: Nash Ensemble/Sarah Walker/John Carewe

Score 0-571-51439-1 on sale, parts for hire

Programme Notes

Roman Canticle was written as a result of a commission from the Nash Ensemble for their 25th anniversary year with funds provided by IBM (UK). It is scored for mezzo-soprano with flute, viola and harp, the instrumental combination used by Debussy in his Sonata (1917), which has often featured in Nash concerts. Nicholas Maw first heard Browning’s poem Two in the Campagna read by Sir John Gielgud some years ago; and it made a deep impression on him. He later visited Italy and fell in love with Rome and its surrounding countryside – the Campagna – just as Browning's did a century earlier. The poem deals with the intangibility of human love, the ‘infinite passion and the pain of finite hears that yearn’. The work is dedicated with affection to the composer’s daughter Natasha and her husband Paul, who were married in Italy in 1996.

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News & Reviews

'Roman Canticle' reviews

'Maw’s harmonic eloquence and rhythmic fervour crystallize the initial agitation to become a flowing vocal line coloured by the writing for flute, viola and harp, the words borne aloft like a continuation of the musical idea and resolved into the gentlest of instrumental postludes.' The Times (Noël Goodwin), 6th November 1989 Read more

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