The Land was written for the South Holland Choral Project in Lincolnshire and was commissioned by the South Holland District Council to celebrate the changing seasons in that area. It was first performed at St Mary Magdalene Church, Gedney on April 29th, 1995.
Whilst the four-part choir relates the original poetry, the semi-chorus provides the folk melodies. For much of the work they exist as separate units but there are occasions when they come together. The string orchestra also serves to compliment the two choral groups and provide the opportunity for rich textures and antiphonal effects. The only ‘season’ which is independent of the semi-chorus is Winter. This is very much an introduction to the succeeding movements which, with their folk-song flavour, rely heavily on dance rhythms and a typically ‘English’ harmonic style.
The celebration of beauty was one of the main elements of writing the poems. The landscape, once dubbed ‘the factory floor of England’ is unique with wide and deep skies, tantalising skylines; patterns of colours on a panoramic scale. Except for Winter, the poems are in strophic form, bound to the metre of the folk song which is the musical base to each movement. In Summer, a liberty is taken in the creation of a new text for the refrain of ‘Bring Fair’.
The work is dedicated to the memory of Liz Busby, Patrick’s friend, who was tragically killed at the time the work was being composed.