Very early one morning in the summer of 2011, I was on my way to work and I walked through Beverley Meadow in St Stephen’s, Canterbury. Unexpectedly, the first ideas for my short single movement work for chamber orchestra, Beverley Meadow (completed in January 2016) formed in my mind. Essentially, it was and still is a two layered idea.
The first, fundamental background layer is relatively static and represents the ground, the mild fog, and the sky, portrayed mostly by muted strings playing quite gentle chords. This is developed, passing through a staggered chord pattern reminiscent of that used in my favourite work by Jonathan Harvey: Tranquil Abiding (1998).
The second, foreground layer is a somewhat Mahlerian impression of birdsong and is portayed by solo trumpets, woodwind, and occsssionally solo strings. After a closing gesture from the piccolo and a brief silence, the solo violin takes the lead role accompanied by a woodwind based orchestration derived from the closing section of Berg’s Violin Concerto (1935).
In 2015, I was invited to write an orchestral piece for the City of Rochester Symphony Orchestra. I was faced with the challenge of thinking of something that would work for an orchestra that didn’t generally include horns, trombones, tuba or timpani and yet did have two great trumpeters, a team of excellent woodwind and string players. It turned out that this instrumentation matched the needs of my Beverley Meadow inspiration perfectly.
The City of Rochester Symphony Orchestra worked on and played through Beverley Meadow incredibly beautifully in a public workshop conducted by Peter Bassano at the Rochester Grammar School hall in January 2016. To my delight, it was then confirmed that the same work would appear in the concert programme at the Central Theatre in Chatham on Saturday 25th February 2017.