Summer Night on the River is the second of the Two Pieces for Small Orchestra. Delius had moved to a villa in the French village of Grez, which backed onto the river Loing, and this tone poem was the result of many contemplative hours spent there. In contrast to the melodic On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, this piece demonstrates the more impressionistic side of Delius. The vague harmonies bring up an atmospheric picture of mists settling over the river, and the rhythms suggest the rocking of small boats. A beautiful song from a solo cello creates an ambience of peace and tranquility that symbolises the river on a warm summer night.
Programme notes for BHSO performance, May 2011
Written by Helena Mason
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