On the South Downs (2009)

For solo cello with chamber orchestra and choir
Duration: c. 15 min
First Performance Ė 3rd July 2009, St. Paulís Church, Chichester
Natalie Clein- solo cello; Chichester Pro Camerata, The Chantry Quire
Commissioned by the 'Friends of West Sussex Young Musicians'
For Natalie Clein and the young musicians of West Sussex

This symphonic poem aims to paint a sonic picture of the beautiful South Downs, one of Sussexís proudest landmarks. The gentle words of local poet Francis William Bourdillon perfectly capture a dayís walking on the Downs, and I have tried to recreate the pastel colours of his poetry in the music. There are three interlocking movements, performed without a break. In the first movement the choir and solo cello set the scene- rich harmonies and a melodious solo, performed at walking pace. The solo guides the music as if walking through the gentle hills. Nature takes over in the second instrumental movement, with flourishes in the wind section on the background of continued rich harmonies, while the solo explores some more decorated melodies. In the final movement the chorale of the opening returns, this time the choir is joined by the full orchestra and a counter melody is woven into the orchestral texture to dialogue with the solo cello.

On the South Downs, was commissioned by the 'Friends of West Sussex Young Musicians' and was first performed by Natalie Clein and the Chichester Pro Camerata on Friday 3rd July 2009 at St Paulís, Churchside, Chichester.

On the South Downs

By Francis William Bourdillon (1852-1921) Light falls the rain
On link and laine,
After the burning day;
And the bright scene,
Blue, gold and green
Is blotted out in grey.

Not so will part
The glowing heart
With sunny hours gone by;
On cliff and hill 
There lingers still
A light that cannot die.

Like a gold crown
Gorse decks the Down,
All sapphire lies the sea;
And incense sweet
Springs as our feet
Tread light the thymy lea.

Fade, vision bright!
Fall rain, fall night!
Forget, grey world, thy green!
For us, nor thee,
Can all days be
As though this had not been!


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