انتقل إلى هذا الرابط Programme note:
Setting words from Hardy's novel The Woodlanders was a long cherished project: I first contemplated the possibility when I was a student in the 1950s. What attracted me were the matchless descriptions of forest scenes at all times of day and night and in all seasons, reflecting or rather embodying the human emotions to which they form a backcloth.
I revisited the book and noted down particular sentences that seemed to suggest music - this before I'd formed any firm notion of what the piece' overall shape was going to be. Then the music began to evolve like a natural organism, using up the words as it did so. I found myself combining phrases and sentences from very different parts of the book if they could outline a certain area of feeling. It was only after finishing the work that I realised I'd constructed a strange hybrid, mid-way between song cycle and tone poem. The words serve the music, perhaps, rather than vice versa, but are nevertheless still set in a straightforward lyrical manner - a tribute to my wife's clarity of line and command of colour, by-passing for once the more obvious aspects of her virtuosity.
The music is continuous and falls into five sections: three are of a contemplative nature, evoking a visionary sunset, an idyllic late Summer evening and a chilling forest tragedy, and they are separated by two scherzos outlining the explosion of Spring and a nocturnal Autumn gale.
I chose an ensemble of two clarinets, violin and cello to enable the piece to be programmed with the Webern middle period song cycles which Jane, their peerless interpreter, and I both love and admire. Clarinet and string textures also struck me as peculiarly Hardyesque, capable of an edgy pungency as well as a mellifluous smoothness.
The work was commissioned by Keele Concerts Society with financial assistance from West Midlands regional arts board to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Keele University.