Twelve pieces for piano written during Patrick’s time as Composer in Residence for Classic FM inspired by Patrick’s love of the Norfolk landscape in which he lives and his Christian faith. The brief from Classic FM was to create soothing, accessible and sight-readable pieces. For the pianist there are a few more complicated timings that make it very interesting and rewarding to play.
The first piece, Towards the Light, uses plainsong from the feast of the Epiphany, supported by added-note and suspended harmonies that create the feeling of stillness and reflection. Serenitas earned its name following a competition hosted by Classic FM for a suggested title which perfectly encapsulates its gentle oscillating feel. Made up of simple piano configurations it both enhances the tranquil mood, and also asks searching questions about the journey ahead. Arioso responds with a soothing outpouring of melody. Meaning ‘in the style of an aria’ it introduces the lyrical quality which is a major feature of the collection. Patrick’s deeply held Christian faith find moving expressions in My Beloved Spake, inspired by the sensual language of the Bible’s Song of Songs and provides a quicker pace and a greater sense of optimism. Ave Maria restores a feeling of dream-like gentleness that exudes radiant warmth, while Ebb Tide, with its hypnotic undulations, is a direct response to the spacious seascapes of the Norfolk coast and the eternal movement of the tide.
The piece written for December, Stargazer, is in the bright key of B major and has clear connections with the nativity story. Song of Innocence takes its title and sentiment from two sources – the poetry of William Blake and the words of the Nuns Dimittis ‘Lord, now lettest thought Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word’. Sleep Song, in the restful key of G flat major, aims to capture those mystical moments between consciousness and sleep. The three pieces which follow reflect the changing skies of East Anglia and also follow the Church year through Easter and The Ascension. The Time of Sacrifice feels barren and mournful while the nostalgically swaying rhythms of Waltz aim to suggest the hope of new life. The Gift marks the journey’s end when the goal of salvation is reached: a gift received but also extended, through the medium of music, to others.