commissioned by British Telecommunications plc with the Associations of British Orchestras for the 1995/96 BT Celebration Series
My ‘Partita’ for orchestra was commissioned by BT plc in co-operation with the Association of British Orchestras, to be performed by seventeen different orchestras between October 1995 and July 1996. I responded to this exciting but rather daunting commission by writing a lively and I hope very accessible piece, which, I decided before I started composing, should be full of tunes. I write it in memory of a dear friend of mine, Sheila MacCrindle, who died in 1993. Sheila was a distinguished figure in music publishing, with whom I worked for years, and who later was much involved with the music of Maxwell Davies and Lutoslawski. She was a hilariously funny and eccentric person: although this Partita is in her memory, it never occurred to me to make it gloomy or dirge-like; that is not how I remember her.
When I am writing programme notes for my concert music, I like to write briefly about the circumstances of the composition, but then to let the music speak for itself. All I need to say about the Partita is that it is basically in D major, it features the front desk players, is written for medium size orchestra with no heavy brass or percussion, apart from timpani, and lasts about 17 minutes. There are three movements: Intrada, Lullaby and Finale.