Music by John Hawkins -
'The performers are of the best ...'
The substantial work in this retrospective recital of music by John Hawkins
(born 1949 and in the early 70s a student with Elisabeth Lutyens and Malcolm
Williamson) is the song cycle Voices from the Sea for tenor and string
orchestra, a live recording of its first performance in 1985. The six poems
were chosen from an anthology of entries for a poetry competition organised by
the Seafarers Education Service. The settings demonstrate a distinct sympathy
with words, an alert ear for distinctive harmonic subtlety, and a polished sense
of invention. In 'A Laugh in the Wind', the poet has been a shocked witness:
'One of the lads was killed today/crushed like a rabbit that runs in the way/of
the traffic ...' [listen, track 5, 0:55-1:50].
In the final song of the set, the
poet entreats us to treasure memories to aid our return: 'Up the stairs of Heaven
we'll see the constellations swing ...'
[listen -- track 6, 1:29-2:24].
Copyright © 31 December 2003
Patric Standford, Wakefield UK