An English Country Garden
Gentle music for a quiet moment A welcome break after a hard day's work! The lark, the ash and the English country garden are celebrated in gentle piano music and English folk song. The plaintive oboe and the haunting sounds of the lute and flute add to the atmosphere of calm and contemplation. Always remember the beauty of the garden, for there is peace.
Anon The dirty work is done, the tools are put away, maybe the back is achingso it's time to put your feet up and relax with some beautiful music chosen from several centuries of music-making, with a theme of gardens and nature in mind, or simply because the music and its sonorities are gentle and relaxing. We start with a gentle piano arrangement of an old English folk song with a highly appropriate title! More folk songs with country themes follow throughout the programme, in a variety of arrangements, from solo voice to a small band. These songs are interspersed with some great music by great composers such as Brahms, Mendelssohn, Beethoven, all composers who had their own take on the countryside and pastoral gentleness. They are part of a nineteenth century German tradition in which beautiful sounds were paramount. These piano pieces come from the less serious part of this repertoire: no 'Sturm und Drang' here, but instead, particularly in the track with the flute, we can hear the best and most gentle that these composers can offer. More modern music comes from Debussy and Joplin: a greater contrast of styles between these two contemporaries is hard to imagine. First we have a Frenchman from a long European tradition and then an American finding his own, new way. But both understood as well as any one how to compose lyrical, gentle melodies. Rubinstein and Chopin come from yet another tradition, central European with an emphasis on the salons of high society, but again, melody is paramount. Chopin's 'Etude in E' acquired some lyrics in the early twentieth century, and has been sung by many performers from the 1930s onward, but we have chosen the original piano version. It is part of set of works designed to stretch the performer's skills and techniques. This piece emphasises long 'cantabile' lines and some virtuoso fireworks in its central section. Among all this richness of sound we have added some early music: Henry VIII's 'Greensleeves' has a suitably country feel, played by a quiet recorder, and Mace's lute music is calm and gentle. It takes us back to a different age when life may not have been easier, but it was certainly slower in its daily progress. A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful implanted in the human soul.