This cycle sets three poems written by Andrew Motion at three distinct
stages of his career. Motion (b. 1952), currently Poet Laureate, cites 'In
the Attic' as "the first one I'd ever done which felt anywhere near right".
The subject matter of the text, composed when he was 20 years old, is a
theme that Motion has returned to throughout his creative output: the ten
years his mother spent in a coma and her subsequent death. 'To Whom it May
Concern' represents a sardonic outlook on the state of contemporary poetry,
while 'What Language to Speak' sets two meditative sentences from the
extended poem, 'Lines of Desire'.
The settings are simple, largely modal and influenced by the sonorities
achieved in Samuel Barber's works for piano. There is an air of slow
recitative in the outer numbers, which aims to create the sense of
melancholic recollection prevalent in the text.