The catalyst for this composition was a visit by Bruce Paine to Finchdean, on the Hampshire/Sussex border in the South of England in the summer of 2005. A walk through nearby fields led to the 14th century chapel at Idsworth, and this composition captures that day.
Isolated and settled serenely amid the cornfields “The Little Church in the Field” St Huberts Chapel built in 1053 by Earl Godwin of Wessex is a fascinating focal point for walkers visiting the area.
Tremolo effects in the opening and closing sections of Finchdean represent the swirling and waving textures of the wheat fields. Halfway into the piece the mood changes with figures that imitate the sound of a bell ringing in the distance, as if summoning the visitor to enter the church.
The lute-like central section represents the church itself, in particular the tranquil interior and wealth of decoration within. The early 14th century murals take you back in time to the days of old England and King Edward the Confessor.
The name hihi (“stitchbird”) has an onomatopoeiac quality which suggests the insistent call of this bird which is urgent, penetrating and strong. Hearing the striking call of the “hihi” on Tiritiri Matangi in the Hauraki Gulf inspired this piece.