Monday, 1 June 2015

Trevor Duncan: Meadow Mist

If ever a short piece of music presents the listener with the dilemma of establishing in their mind whether it is ‘classical’ or ‘light’ it is Trevor Duncan’s Meadow Mist. Duncan has contrived to compose a short tone-poem that balances the nature mysticism of Delius with the high-romanticism of the mid-nineteen fifties school of ‘light’ music. The work was composed in 1954, although it could be from Duncan’s pen anytime over his more than a half century career.  
Meadow Mist is a deeply felt piece that perfectly creates an evocative mood of an early summer’s morning or possibly an evening vista when the mist is gradually gathering and two lovers look towards the slowly setting sun. It is surely a water meadow somewhere in deepest England. A place that may, or may not, actually exist, but is surely very real in the minds of all devotees of the landscape.

The liner notes quote Trevor Duncan (1924-2005) as saying that ‘he, like almost every harmony conscious musician on earth, applauds the contribution of Robert Farnon to music. He acknowledges his influence deep down among the string harmonies that you hear in this sensuous piece.’ Effective use is also made of woodwind and harp in creating this perfect nature study.
When I reviewed this work as part of the Golden Age of Light Music: Nature’s Realm CD (GLCD 5194) for MusicWeb International, I wrote that ‘…Trevor Duncan has contributed an essay of English pastoral music…This is one of the loveliest works on this CD and probably deserves inclusion in [all] ‘samplers’ of English landscape music.’  

I understand that Meadow Mist was originally released on a 10” vinyl 78rpm record as late as 1959 coupled with the composer’s Little Debbie and Casulaire (Boosey & Hawkes O.2340).
Trevor Duncan’s Meadow Mist can be heard on Marco Polo 8.223517.  The Guild CD version of this work, performed by the New Concert Orchestra conducted by Dolf van der Linden, has been posted on YouTube

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