Yellow Leaves

soprano and piano

Duration 21’
Instrumentation soprano, piano
First Performance 15 May 2013, Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, London; Claire Booth (soprano), Andrew Matthews-Owen (piano)
Commissioned by the Richard Thomas Foundation
Recording Debut Disc At the Speed of Stillness Download the album from iTunes
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Further Performances
1.6.14 Spiegelsaal in Clärchens Ballhaus, Berlin, Germany; Léa Trommenschlager soprano, Elizabete Sirante piano
23.6.14 Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, France; Léa Trommenschlager soprano, Elizabete Sirante piano
12.9.14 Piano Salon Christophori, Berlin; Norma Nahoun soprano, Julien Quentin piano
8.10.14 Opera House, Lille, France; Léa Trommenschlager soprano, Elizabete Sirante piano
23.1.15 Salon de Musique, Martigues, France; Léa Trommenschlager soprano, Elizabete Sirante piano
8.11.15 Auditorium Orchestre National de Lyon, France; Norma Nahoun soprano, Julien Quentin piano
14.08.16 BBC Proms Extra Imperial College Union, London; Josephine Goddard soprano, Paul McKenzie piano
7.03.17 Holywell Music Room, Oxford, UK; Claire Booth soprano, Anna Tilbrook piano
6.07.17 West Cork Music Festival, Bantry, Ireland; Claire Booth soprano, Christopher Glynn piano

The poet, Caroline Thomas, created a set of 154 Haikus, based on Shakespeare’s 154 Sonnets. The composer selected 33 of the Haikus as the basis for nine themed songs, five of which are recorded here. The cycle travels through a range of emotions based on love, loss and deceit. The title, Yellow Leaves – a line appearing in the poetry – reflects the completion of the song cycle in Berlin in the autumn of 2012.

In Still Standing, a powerful and purely self-less love is presented, a total devotion and sense of constant renewal. The poetic references to nature (waves, tides) strongly influenced the composition. The love has suddenly disappeared and Collusion is full of bitterness and deceit. Attempting to forget, one feels the heart break and grief in While the bell tolls… The poet’s use of colour and again, the references to nature, are incredibly evocative. In Farewell we feel sadness and loss for what has passed. Sweet memories remain but something darker lies under the surface. Coming full circle, the beauty of love is still blazing in Old Tales; ever renewed.