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In the Golden Sky the Swallows Turn

For Solo Violin

Duration: 7 mins 30 secs approx.

Composer's Note

My poem for solo violin In the Golden Sky the Swallows Turn began life as a response to Giovanni Pascoli’s In alto (1889), from his group of poems Le gioie del poeta. The work’s musical material is derived from a recording that I made of my wife reciting Pascoli’s poem: my transcriptions of the contours and rhythms of her speaking voice giving rise to the notes and rhythms of the piece. During the composition process I found myself departing from the narrative of Pascoli’s poem although its depiction of rural Tuscan life (a recurring theme in my work) remained fundamental to my musical thought, as reflected in the pastoral - and at times even folk-like - musical tone that pervades the piece. 

In the Golden Sky the Swallows Turn can be heard as a set of songs and dances. Following a lyrical and tranquil opening, a breezy sequence of three gentle dances - each one separated by further passages of expressive, song-like melody - is presented. Upon the conclusion of the final (and most energetic) of the three dance episodes the listener is returned, via a short passage of musical recollections, to the music of the opening, before further fragmented memories bring the work to an enigmatic close. The work’s title is a translation of the opening line of Pascoli’s poem: “Nel ciel dorato rotano i rondoni”. 

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