Daffodils. Based on the poem by William Wordsworth

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In late October (2006), on a remarkably mild, Summery afternoon, I was out planting Daffodil bulbs for next spring and whilst I worked beneath the blue sky with cotton wool like Cumulous clouds scudding across the clear blue I was reminded of William Wordsworth�s poem �Daffodils�, and silently reciting the poem, I came up with some music to fit the metre. I immediately washed the soil off my hands under the garden tap and wrote down my arrangement on a sheet of manuscript paper I habitually keep in my pocket these days for jotting down ideas upon. I couldn�t wait to finish and get back into the house so that I could work properly upon my piece.

With daffodils planted, four new roses planted and under-sown with tulips, 20 foxgloves planted in a shady border and a dozen well grown Hollihocks planted that was it. The music running around inside my head had been developing all this time and as it continued to do so, I went in.

Drawing on my experience as a former member of amateur operatic societies and my experience of woodwind instruments (I used to own a mellow sounding 19th century black wooden Boehm system silver keyed flute, and I�ve played clarinets, saxophone and other woodwind) I�ve scored the piece for a woodwind trio (comprising flute, clarinet and bassoon), harp (in place of a keyboard) and a solo Tenor voice.

Wordsworth s most famous poem �Daffodils� was composed in 1804, two years after he saw the flowers while walking beside Ullswater lake on a stormy day with his younger sister, Dorothy. His inspiration for the poem came from an account written by Dorothy. In her journal entry for 15th April 1802 she describes how the daffodils: �tossed and reeled and danced, and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind, that blew upon them over the lake;� Wordsworth published his poem, 'I wandered lonely as a Cloud' , in 1807. He later altered it, and his second version, published in 1815, is the one widely known today.

I wandered lonely as a Cloud That floats on high o'er Vales and Hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the milky way, They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay: Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:- A poet could not but be gay In such a jocund company: I gazed-and gazed-but little thought What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude, And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the Daffodils.

Grateful thanks to The Wordsworth Trust: www.wordsworth.org.uk/Default.asp?page=114 Be sure to visit their website and help to preserve a unique heritage.

Score ID
Year of composition
William Wordsworth
Difficult (Grades 7+)
3 minutes
Large mixed ensemble
Modern classical music
Instrumental parts

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