I. Preludio is based on the phrase heard at the start of the piece; elaborated with triadic harmonies. II. Variazioni is a simple intervallic theme with variations. Composed for guitarist Kazuhito Yamashita, who requested a piece for solo guitar. He first performed the work at Kirishima, Kyushu in February, 1996.
Written in 1972 for my daughter Katherine. She was at the time learning the guitar and I was endeavouring to teach myself the sitar from the Ravi Shankar book.. In attempting to marry the two instruments, the piece inevitably borrows bits from Indian music: the drone, the modal approach and the association of drumming with sitar-playing (though the “drummer” here is the guitarist). It remains however, basically western in concept: it is fully notated, the mode is Messiaen’s mode 2, and the sitarist is required to stop the tonic drone during the middle section of the piece allowing the guitarist to provide three substitute chords – in other words, “modulation”!
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.