And Wake the Purple Year (1985)

Programme Note: John Buckley

The original harpsichord version of And Wake the Purple Year was first performed in February 1985 by Paula Best to whom it is dedicated. The work was commissioned by Newpark Music Centre with funds made available by The Arts Council.

The piano version was prepared in 1986 and first performed by Gillian Smith in St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra. The title is taken from a line in Thomas Gray's Ode to Spring and it reflects the optimistic, spring-like character of the piece; the original version for harpsichord being completed in early Spring 1985.

The idiom of And Wake the Purple Year is traditional and draws inspiration from Bartok and Debussy rather than from more recent developments. The theme heard at the outset, along with its tremolo left hand accompaniment, provides all the material for the subsequent development of the piece.