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Abbreviations (PDF)


Boosey & Hawkes

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


World Premiere
Purcell Room, London
musicians from The Philharmonia / Delyana Lazarova
Composer's Notes

Scored for wind dectet and harp, The Water Garden is inspired by the poem Chinoiseries by the American, Imagist poet, Amy Lowell (1874-1925). The poem begins ‘When I looked into your eyes, I saw a garden,’ before the speaker describes an idealistic landscape of ‘crimson peonies,’ ‘tinkling pagodas,’ and ‘still lakes’ to create delicate, reflective imagery. This is then tinged with sadness as when the woman reaches through the water to pluck the peonies beneath the surface, the stems fracture and break in her hand staining her rain-blue dress ‘like tears.’ This juxtaposition of tranquil surroundings with undertones of mystery and unease is depicted throughout The Water Garden, as the work begins with a mystical, fragile soundworld before transitioning through both static, otherworldly moments, and more rhythmic, whimsical passages. The piece portrays non-linear impressions of the imagery, delicate garden flowers and watery surfaces, and the feelings of both tender sentiments and apprehension in the poem.

Grace Evangeline-Mason, 2023

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

Press Quotes

"...an intricate, luxuriant parade of aqueous imagery."
The Guardian

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