It was a great pleasure to find occasion to write once more for the bass-baritone Timothy Jones, who in 2002 premiered my first work for voice, Einstein on Mercer Street, based on the poetry of Fleda Brown. The occasion in this case was a commission from a consortium of chamber music festivals led by the Cactus Pear Music Festival.
While searching for texts, I happened on the “Drinking Song” of William Butler Yeats and found the first two lines particularly entertaining:
Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye
I collected more “love poems” by the great poet and put together a song cycle, the emotional center probably being my setting of the famous “He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven.”
As it true of all my works involving text, much of the text-painting and storytelling is achieved by the “accompanying” instruments, which hardly ever serve as mere accompaniment. Writing for flute, violin, cello and piano was a new challenge for me, and it was gratifying to hear such exquisite playing by Stephanie Jutt, Stephanie Sant’ambrogio, Anthony Ross and Jeffrey Sykes in the premiere performance.