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These works (Sinfonia Opus 11a and String Quartet Opus 11b) are two versions of the same composition, and are a musical autobiography. Ray was born in England and lived through seven years of destruction, spending many nights in air raid shelters listening to the sounds of total war. An air raid, with its sirens, the drone of bombers, bombs dropping and anti-aircraft fire can be heard in the first movement. The main theme, which occurs soon after the opening, reappears inverted after the air raid - symbolic of the utter chaos prevelant at that time. However, like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, the theme not only corrects itself but changes from minor to major modality near the end. The second movement represents New Zealand with its bitter-sweet memories for the composer. New Zealand is a beautiful country. The humerous third movement, called "England again" is scored pizzicato throughout, and leads to the final movement "Canada" - big Canada, magnificent Canada, vast Canada, noble Canada, free Canada, beautiful Canada.... the huge but simple harmonies near the end are Ray's interpretation of the optimism he feels for the country.
Commissioned by the Kensington Sinfonia
Dedicated to the Kensingston Sinfonia
- England: Allegro moderato
- New Zealand: Andante
3.England: Allegro vivace
Performed by the Kensington Sinfonia
Performed by the State Academy of Music Chamber Orchestra