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The origins of this piece lie in a setting for tenor and piano of A.E.Housman’s Shropshire Lad, poem 36 (White in the moon the long road lies) which I wrote in 1962-3 while an undergraduate at Brasenose College, Oxford. I laid it aside for many years, but the melody kept on insisting, and fragments of it emerged in my Advent Anthem (2000), a setting of Christina Rossetti’s ’The Advent moon shines cold and clear’. It takes on a fuller and more final form in the present Pastorale, a homage not only to Housman and an almost-lost ’Englishness’, but also to my many years spent playing (trying to play?) the oboe - a Howarth, of course! - as I listened with admiration to Leon Goossens, Evelyn Rothwell, Janet Craxton, Heinz Holliger and, more relatively recently, Nicholas Daniel. The piece’s final form has now (2014) emerged as a slight rearrangement for oboe d’amore and strings (also on Score Exchange).
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