For some time I was in two minds whether to write a set of railway songs (Hardy would have been pressed into service} or an Edward Thomas cycle. Eventually I plumped for the latter as affording more expressive variety, and at the same time I decided to reduce the supporting ensemble to piano quartet, which would require a third version of Adlestrop. I had begun to feel that the piano quintet version was a little dense in string tone; also the quartet seemed better suited to programme requirements
Inventing an overall structure for the cycle which would encompass the already composed Adlestrop troubled me for a while, but eventually I decided to place it last and prefigure its quick/slow bi-partite form with a fast opening song ( that wonderful call for inspiration ·words" ) and a stately centrepiece (the much admired "Lights out" ). Thus the three songs are overlaid by four tempo sections. I have chosen the simplest of vocal styles to be true to Thomas's vision, avoiding melismas and indeed all the modernistic devices which in the past I and indeed many others have used in recognition of Jane's famed technical prowess.
The Malvern Concert Club commissioned this work with the aid of a grant from the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust. Its preparation and first performance were supported with funds from the Performing Rights Society Foundation and the Elgar Society.