In April 1975 I occupied a flat in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, near the seafront. As a member of the English Chamber Orchestra, I had come to work for a week on a recording of Britten’s opera ‘Death in Venice’, so the real and suggested sound of the sea was in my ears, so to speak, for days on end. A few weeks later, when I started work on 'Verse 1', it became clear in the first few bars that I was recalling and suggesting the sea and the beach at Aldeburgh. I am not aware of any direct influence from Britten’s music, but I do, however, quote a small fragment from a theme to be found in a piano quartet by Mahler, played early in the piece by the flute (bars 6 & 7).
'Verse 1' marks the beginning of a more ambitious and intense style of composition. The ideas are relatively simple and develop gradually in a cyclic fashion within a one movement, sectional design. Progressively faster tempi lead to the main climax of the work near the end of the piece. Then a short coda leads to a very quiet ending and a return to the original tonal centre of C.
This work was awarded the First Prize in the Viotti International Competition for composers, in Italy in 1975.