soprano, piano, (optional: plus clarinet and cello)
Instrumentation soprano, piano, (optional: plus clarinet & cello)
First Performance 22 November 2010, Wigmore Hall, London; Eleanor Dennis (soprano), Gary Matthewman (piano), William Stafford (clarinet), Tim Lowe (cello)
Commissioned by The Countess of Munster Musical Trust for their Monday Night Platform at Wigmore Hall
15.12.10 Park Lane Group Young Artist Concert Series, St James Church, Piccadilly, London, Rhona McKail soprano, Yshani Perinpanayagam piano
10.1.11 The Park Lane Group Young Artist Concert Series, Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, London, Rhona McKail soprano, Yshani Perinpanayagam piano
6.8.11 Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival, Riverside Terrace, Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, London, Rhona McKail soprano, Yshani Perinpanayagam piano
23.10.11 Second Movement Scratch Night, Cockpit Theatre, Marylebone, Rhona McKail soprano, Yshani Perinpanayagam piano
24.10.11 Kings College London Arts & Humanities Festival, London, The Opera Group: Rhona McKail soprano, Yshani Perinpanayagam piano
28.10.11 Oxford Lieder Festival, Holywell Music Room, Oxford, Rhona McKail soprano, Yshani Perinpanayagam piano
10.5.12 The Austrian Cultural Forum, Rhona McKail soprano, Mary Dullea piano
14.10.12 Little Missenden Festival, April Fredrick (soprano), Mark Bebbington (piano)
Although better known during his lifetime for his novels, Thomas Hardy always aspired to being a poet, claiming to have written novels solely to make a living in his early years. ‘Loving-kindness’ was one of his favourite expresssions, and it is a feeling which we find suffusing many of his poems, according to James Gibson, the editor of the complete collected poems, published by Palgrave Macmillan. This is certainly reflected in these three settings in which I was drawn to the fun, light hearted and witty nature of the poetry which is radical yet truly timeless.
The ‘instrumental interludes’ were written to sit alongside Midnight Closes, which may be performed by just soprano and piano. In these short instrumental pieces, which take their inspiration from the poems set in the cycle, small frag- ments from the songs were used as starting points in the creation of each.