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The Fall of the Leafe

after Martin Peerson
for string orchestra
string orchestra
Edition: Performance material

Product Details


This work, for strings only, was written in July and August of 2004. It is based on a virginal piece from the Fitzwilliam collection, copied in the early years of the seventeenth century. 'The Fall of the Leafe' is a short, expressive work by Martin Peerson - characterised by a descriptive descending scale.

Out of the thematic material of the Peerson I have fashioned, by permutation and a magic square filter, a theme of my own which appears at the outset, Peerson's common time being replaced by a gently lilting 6/8, which nevertheless retains something of the original's "falling" character.

A slightly faster varied repeat, with my melody in the violins, has a version of the first part of the Peerson set against it, in the 'cellos, divided into four.

After a short "accelerando" transition, a quick section is the first of two development sections, on both the Peerson and my material.

A "retard" leads into a statement of the second part of the Peerson, in first and second violins, each divided into three. The violas, 'cellos and basses continue the discourse of original, net material.

A second, quick development follows, for violas, 'cellos and basses only (shades of Brandenburg 6!) leading to a final section, with the last part of the Peerson in violins 1, and a new counterpoint in violins 2. All the leaves fall completely in the final bars of vigorous tremolo through all the strings. In Orkney, where I live, there are almost no trees, and autumn is something I imagine, or can sometimes enjoy bits of, on visits south. The work has a further resonance - it was written very shortly before my seventieth birthday.

It is dedicated to the Skye composer and painter Marc Yeats.

- Peter Maxwell Davies, 2004

Orchestral Cast

str( minimum)

More Information

The Fall of the Leafe
after Martin Peerson
for string orchestra
Performance material
Schott Music
Year of composition:
op. 254
8 ′
World Premiere:
November 26, 2004 · Glasgow (UK)
Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama
Conductor: Rumon Gamba · Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Commissioned work :
Commissioned by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Technical Details

Product number:
LSL 10007-01


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