Boosey & Hawkes Composer News

Search Catalogue

FEATURED COMPOSERS
Holloway, RobinThis is Just to Say op. 32 (1977) 17'
for tenor and piano

Music Text  
William Carlos Williams (E)
Abbreviations (PDF).

Territory
This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

Composer's Notes  
This cycle to 13 poems by William Carlos Williams was commissioned by Peter Pears and first performed by him with Stephen Ralls at the 1977 Aldeburgh Festival. With great trepidation I wrote for the great tenor in the year after his great partner’s death! And, it must be admitted, with memories of the ringing younger voice in mind rather than the more limited resources of his later phase (indeed I’d first mooted a Larkin-cycle which would have taxed it beyond its then powers: this was actually written a bit later – for baritone!). And of course Pears performed with his customary flair – in particular his profound sensitivity to every shade of meaning in words and music alike.

Williams’ deceptively fragile texts appealed deeply at a time when I was trying to thin down and essentialize in the spirit of Britten. My choices make a seasonal cycle not specified as such by the poet: from Winter – a slow, sluggish start – through Spring and the dawning of love – its still centre the celebrated lines about the delicious plums purloined from the icebox (thence to the perfectly rotten apple delightfully pictured in the cover-design for the songs’ publication). Then a burning section – balancing the earlier slow-motion – through Summer and Autumn, to reach the re-approach of a second Winter fired up now by all that precedes. The closing poem CONQUEST is split halfway by a mystic marriage of flame and ice, then resumed and concluded in an apotheosis of the secret plum/apple in a blaze of white

© Robin Holloway 2009

Reproduction Rights
This programme note may be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to the composer




Mailing List

Sign up for news updates and offers via email

SIGN UP
Audio Visual Gallery
ONLINE SCORES

Explore our library of 1500 online scores

VIEW SCORES
FAQ | Contact Us | Links | About Us | Shop Directory | Careers | Terms of use | RSS Index