Anthony Payne (1936-2021)
200 PIECES Leap, Skip and Chase the Song (world premiere)
Lucas Levin viola
Leap, Skip and Chase the Song will be performed in memory of its composer, Anthony Payne. His death on 30 April came just a month after that of his wife, pioneering soprano and Academy alumna Jane Manning. The Academy was a something of a home to them both, so it is particularly sad that they will not hear the world premiere of his work.
Leoš Janáček (1854-1928)
String Quartet No 1, 'The Kreutzer Sonata'
Adagio con moto
Con moto – Vivo – Andante
Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
String Quartet No 13 in A minor, D 804, 'Rosamunde'
Allegro ma non troppo
Menuetto. Allegretto – Trio
Madeleine Pickering and Laura Rickard violin
Lucas Levin viola
Garwyn Linnell cello
Anthony Payne began to compose whilst still at school and went on to read music at Durham University. On leaving university he went through a period of creative uncertainty and began a career as a freelance musicologist, journalist and lecturer, producing such distinguished publications as authoritative studies of Schoenberg and Bridge. In the mid 1960s, however, he began to compose his Phoenix Mass, in which he at last discovered a personal language. From that point, Payne's reputation grew steadily with each new work. He received commissions from many important soloists and organisations, and in 1985 was one of the select few chosen by the BBC to compose a piece in celebration of European Music Year: his Spirit's Harvest proved to be one of the most exciting orchestral works of the entire season.
In 1990 the orchestral work Time's Arrow was given its world premiere at the BBC Proms by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andrew Davis. His orchestral work A Hidden Music (1992) for strings and single winds was commissioned by the London Festival Orchestra for its annual Cathedral Classics Festival and premiered at Westminster Cathedral. This was followed by the autobiographical Orchestral Variations - The Seeds Long Hidden for the English Chamber Orchestra (1994) and Empty Landscape - The Heart's Ease (1995) for the Nash Ensemble. In 1997 he completed 'an elaboration on the sketches of Elgar's Third Symphony', a project which was hailed by critics as the musical event of the decade.
Payne's command of large orchestral forces was only one aspect of his rich talent: his chamber works – especially A Day in the Life of a Mayfly which he composed for The Fires of London Ensemble – were more frequently performed in his own country and abroad than is generally the fate of contemporary music. His vocal and choral settings also revealed both the breadth of his literary knowledge and his exceptional sensitivity to language. Having earned his living for a time as a music journalist, his writings were respected as stylish and authoritative and his easy articulacy made him a popular and frequent broadcaster.