The Autumn Song is based on the various ancient Chinese poems and stories about the parting of lovers. Specifically, due to the male partner having to go and serve in the building or guarding of the Great Wall of China. The music evokes the melancholic character of loss – in particular, that quality of ambiguity caused by the fact that neither partner knows if the loss is temporary or permanent.
The piece was commissioned by Natalie Clein and Xuefei Yang who gave the first performance at the Macau Festival, China, on 13th October 2009. They gave the UK premiere at the Wigmore Hall, London, on 3rd February 2010. The flute and guitar version has been recorded by Susie Hodder-Williams and Graham Roberts on Northern Lights FMR Records © 2010 (FMRCD303-0311).
The Autumn Song is also available in a version for cello (or flute) and piano (DO 891).
Stephen Goss 2011