(1998, orchestral version 2010)
song cycle for mezzo-soprano and piano; also version for chamber orchestra (126.96.36.199/188.8.131.52.harp.timp.strings)
Moonstone Songs were sketched on the isle of Iona in September 1997, where I stayed for a short time directly after the sudden death of my mother, and completed in April 1998. The four songs are settings of poems from the 'Carmina Gadelica', an anthology - or rather, the anthology of oral Gaelic hymns, spells, charms and songs collected and translated into English by Alexander Carmichael and published in 1897, thus opening a door onto the Gaelic world, and doubtless preserving many poems that would otherwise have been lost or forgotten. Most of the poems exist in many variants, so I have adapted, pruned and occasionally clarified the texts I set, and in the case of the last song, combined elements of two separate poems. The first and third songs are elemental and melancholy, the second song, The Farmer's Food and Footwear, is a preposterous boast, which is mirrored by a mounting, and ultimately preposterous crescendo, and the final song is simple and almost folk-like.
Moonstone Songs are dedicated to the memory of my mother, Lori.
1. Power of Moon
2. The Farmer's Food and Footwear
3. Voice of the Swan
4. I am Going Home with Thee
First performance May 28 1998 by Susannah Self and Philip Headlam in St Giles, Cripplegate, Barbican, London WC2