The music of Le Jardin à Giverny was originally composed as Romance for clarinet and piano, dating from 1964, the composer’s first year as an undergraduate student at London’s Royal Academy of Music. The piece remained unpublished until the 2000s, when it was rearranged and published as Romance for recorder and piano, at the request of the recorder player John Turner. Then in 2016, the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s principal cor anglais, Alison Teale, asked the composer to write a short work for cor anglais and string quartet, and he turned once again to the same music, revising and re-scoring it. The pastoral and ‘impressionist’ nature of the music seemed to the composer to describe in aural terms the famous Monet canvass of the same name, hence its new title. The music is ternary in form, with a cadenza for the soloist near the end before briefly returning to the opening music, then fading into silence via the string quartet’s harmonics chord.
Le Jardin à Giverny … is hauntingly beautiful, with long-breathed, sinewy melodic lines and nods to John Ireland’s harmonies. It would not surprise me if this were taken up by Classic FM.
John France, MusicWeb International (May 2022)