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Nicola LeFanu

Publisher: Novello & Co

The Same Day Dawns (1974)
commissioned by the Fromm Foundation
Novello & Co Ltd
Solo Voices and 1-6 players
Year Composed
18 Minutes
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Programme Note
Nicola LeFanu The Same Day Dawns (1974)
The Same Day Dawns - fragments from a book of songs - is a collection of miniatures to Oriental texts. The words are words of love and longing, of loneliness, distance and death. Despite their disparate origins the poems share many common images. Drawn mainly from the natural world, they are images of an extraordinary intensity for which I had to find an equally vivid music. I have always admired the concentration of Chinese and Japanese art: an art apparently simple, yet rich in implicit meanings. A few brush strokes can conjure up a magical landscape for us. It was towards this economy and intensity that I aspired in the music for The Same Day Dawns.

The idiom is lyrical: each song is a monody shared between the soprano and the instrumentalists, who are as much individual soloists as she is. The line is articulated by the voice, with one of more of the instruments creating a commentary around it and adding its own colour. For the ensemble I chose flute doubling alto flute, clarinet doubling bass clarinet, violin, 'cello and a variety of percussion: marimba and vibraphone, bongos and "talking drum", suspended cymbals, crotales and Korean temple gongs. For each poem there is a different instruments combination and a particular musical character; yet the songs also have a kinship which binds them into a continuous whole.

Many of my works are directed forwards to one main goal and climax, but this is not the case in The Same Day Dawns. As the title suggests, the work has a circling or spiralling form: songs return, some varied, others unchanged by what has happened in between. Time may seem to move forward, but this is our illusion: as the cycle ends, we are back in the dream-world of the opening…'The still drone of the time past midnight…'
© Nicola LeFanu

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