This song cycle was composed in 1951 and is a setting of poems by Alistair Te Ariki Campbell, written as a memorial to Roy Dickson who died in an accident in the Southern Alps in 1947. The evocative settings range from the darkly sombre and dramatically powerful to the poignantly tender and sorrowful, reflecting both the moods and changing conditions of the New Zealand mountains and bush and the shifting emotions and expressions of grief over a life lost.
These canons date from my student days at Cambridge University (England) and were first performed by fellow students there. One of these was Stanley Sadie, now editor of the New Grove Dictionary of Music. I have always enjoyed writing canonic textures.