This was Holloway’s first Prom commission and, though the title is taken from a poem by Wallace Stevens, this large-scale symphonic poem was the last of his early works to be inspired by the music of Schumann. While Holloway took seven of the twelve settings of Julius Kerner, the form and the music of the originals have by now been well absorbed and transformed so as to be virtually unrecognisable. The work is constructed as two pairs of contrasting movements separated by an Intermezzo. After the second pair, the Intermezzo – easily recognised by its sad music for the four horns – returns and the work ends with a slow movement entitled Dawn, whose music dies away to nothing. Overall, the work is another of Holloway’s tributes to the High Romanticism of the nineteenth century. To make the work more accessible, the composer has suggested that the first and third movements – Summer Rain and Night Hunt – may be played separately or together as Diptych.
Repertoire Note by Peter Marchbank