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Anthony Payne

Publisher: Chester Music

Empty Landscape - Heart's Ease (1995)
Commissioned by BBC Radio 3 as part of the Year of Music 1995
Work Notes
Commissioned for the Nash Ensemble
Chester Music Ltd
Small Ensemble (2-6 players)
Year Composed
15 Minutes
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Programme Note
Anthony Payne Empty Landscape - Heart's Ease (1995)
Naming a piece of music can pose vexing questions. I knew what the present piece was going to be about from the outset, the opposition of two contrasted types of material - highly volatile and active as against calmly lyrical; but I could not find a title to suggest this process and the emotional fields it would articulate. Suddenly one day, when the piece was already well udner way, the words 'Empty Landscape - Heart's Ease' floated into my mind. They seemed obliquely relevant to some of the piece's quieter moments, but no more than that. In the end, however, and after much dallying, I opted for them as the title, bearing in mind the thought that a person's name doesn't have to tell you what they are about, or what they look like. So it was with my work's name. It seemed a more gracious title than Sextet (for oboe, clarinet, horn and string trio) with two types of music interlaced in six continuous sections:
A (active music) - 45 bars
B (calm music) - 15 mars
A - 30
B - 30
A - 15
B - 45
- the active ones growing shorter as the calm are extended.

  • Ensemble
    Jane's Minstrels
    Jane Manning, soprano
    Roger Montgomery
…the score’s chequerboard construction alternated between tranquility and agitation. But at the same time there was a broad sense of transition towards “ease”, as the busy sections decreased in length and the calm ones increased. This was an engaging refinement in a work which gently steered the piece toward what sounded like a revisiting of English Pastoral… [Payne’s] quiet but thoughtful presence in British music always strikes me as a kind of anchorage in sanity, confirming the continuing life of trusted values.
Michael White, The Independent on Sunday,01/03/1995
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