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Nicola LeFanu

Publisher: Novello & Co

Trio 2: Song for Peter (1983)
commissioned by Peter Wiegold for Gemini with funds from the Arts Council
Text Writer
Emily Dickinson, Ted Hughes and Anton Chekhov
Novello & Co Ltd
Solo Voices and 1-6 players
Year Composed
18 Minutes
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Programme Note
Nicola LeFanu Trio 2: Song for Peter (1983)
This trio, for soprano, clarinet and cello, was written for Peter Wiegold and Gemini, who commissioned it with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain. It was composed in January, and lasts about ten minutes. The text was compiled from words by Emily Dickinson, Anton Chekhov, Ted Hughes and Sarah Teasdale.

Ah -
It was not death for I stood up
And all the dead, lie down
It was not night, for all the bells
Put out their tongues for moon

No more shall white cranes wake and cry

No more shall white cranes wake…

Like rain it sounded till it curved
And then I knew 'twas wind
It walked as wet as any wave
And swept as dry as sand

Far…this house has been far out all night
Far out at sea

No longer, no more
Cranes no longer wake in the meadows
Wake and cry
As if my life were shaven
And fitted to a frame
And could not breathe

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground
And swallows calling
And frogs in the pools singing at night
And wild plum trees
And not one will know of war, not one will care
Not one will mind
If mankind perished
And spring herself when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

No more shall white cranes wake and cry

Like midnight
When everything that ticks has stopped
and space stares

Wind…we watch…
Wind flexing like the lens of a mad eye
We watch…seeing the window tremble to come in
We watch…hearing the stones cry out under the horizon

No more, no longer shall white cranes wake

Far, far out
This house has been far out all night
Far out at sea

All living bodies have turned to dust
All, all, all have gone
Into stones, into water, into clouds
© 1983 Nicola LeFanu

  • Soloist(s)
    Sarah Leonard, soprano; Aleksander Szram, piano
    Metier Records:
British composer Nicola LeFanu is renowned for works of imaginative beauty, often drawing on diverse extra-musical prompts (previous pieces explore the Black Death, Edo Japan and the Arizona desert). LeFanu’s Trio 2: Song for Peter (1983) for soprano, clarinet and piano is by turns fierce and meditative, pondering ideas of mortality through texts by Emily Dickinson, Checkhov, Ted Hughes and Sara Teasdale, and performed here with particular poise and fire by soprano Sarah Leonard. Invisible Places (1986) for string quartet and clarinet takes Italo Calvino’s beguiling Invisible Cities as its starting point, capturing the book’s seamless shifts between micro- and macrocosm in the score’s inventive textural contrasts.
Kate Wakeling, BBC Music Magazine,01/04/2017
There is no doubt that this is a bleak piece of music: even depressing. Yet the music explores the words with great effect. It is haunting and quite unforgettable in its impact.
John France, MusicWeb International,01/03/2017
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