Lovebytes was composed between June 2002 and May 2003, although the third song is a re-working of part of a setting of Adrian Henri's Harbour which was first heard in 1987 at a concert celebrating Adrian's work. All three texts were passed to me by their authors to set, in the reverse order in which they appear in the work. I see the set as offering a glimpse of different aspects of love, and was a touch disappointed that someone else got to that title first …
In re-composing the third section of Harbour - here as De Profundis - I have attempted to pace and shape the movement more clearly around its (literal) climax. The plan to set Deryn Rees-Jones' poetry dates from her appointment to the English department at Liverpool Hope University, when she became a colleague; of a number of her poems I considered for this set, I felt A Lucky Charm to be one which already had strong musical qualities and could become a natural 'scherzo' in the middle of the group. In contrast to the celebrations of love in these texts, the opening poem, by my daughter Laura-Kate, dwells briefly on the frustration of love lost.
De Profundis is prefaced by a short interlude which features the oboe d'amore. The plaintive tone of this short movement reflects a personal sadness that Adrian Henri's death meant that I was unable to discuss the reworking of Harbour with him. I am very grateful to Catherine Marcangeli for allowing me to return to this text and use it in Lovebytes.
Much of Lovebytes was written in the beautiful French village of Fontaine Chalendray in the Charente. It was first performed in May 2003 by Patricia Rozario with Ensemble 10:10, conducted by Clark Rundell. In December, 2004, it was nominated in the vocal section for a British Composer Award by the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters.
The poems by Laura-Kate Gordon and Deryn Rees-Jones are reproduced with the permission of the authors. Adrian Henri's Harbour is reproduced with the permission of Catherine Marcangeli.