Farewell
Op.151

for Violin and piano
3-4 mins.
|
2017
|

awaiting publication by Gonzaga Music Ltd

in memory of Christi Graham, who died on March 29th 2017

Programme note

In mid-September 2017, Malu Lin and I, with our producer and old friend Nick Graham, were at the Old Granary near Beccles in Suffolk, recording a programme for violin & piano which included my cousin Elizabeth Maconchy’s two sonatas, Abstracts and a Frame by her daughter Nicola LeFanu, and my own Duo and Echo. On the morning of the last day of recording, Nick Graham learned that his wife Christi had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. We suspended recording immediately, and he returned home to look after her – which he did for eighteen months with extraordinary courage on both their parts, until her death in late March 2017.

In September that year we returned to Beccles to complete the recording sessions. In July, meanwhile, I had written Farewell in memory of Christi, who was one of the loveliest people I have ever had the honour to know. While writing it, I imagined the violin playing as if from inside an all-embracing piano resonance (the piano sustaining pedal is held down throughout). So we recorded the piece in an unusual way, feeding part of the output of the violin mikes to the piano soundboard via speakers placed inside the instrument. The effect was magical. The piece itself, written in interlocking eight-note modes, has a floating feeling which is caused by the irregular division of nine quavers per bar. The right hand of the piano plays a rocking minor third which gradually climbs up the keyboard from start to finish. The violin plays a melody extracted from this; and the left hand of the piano plays a deep, low echo of the violin melody.

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