The Grey Tide and The Green (orch) (excerpt)OUP-The Grey Tide and the Green-pgs1-10-secureIn his short poem, “Boundaries”, R. S. Thomas writes, “Where does the town end / and the country begin? / Where is the high-water mark / between the grey tide and the green?’ These lines led the composer to recall the lichen-covered, low stone walls which crisscross the high mountain moorland behind her childhood home in Ferndale, Rhondda. In turn, the local image suggested the textural contrasts which underlie the piece as a whole – contrasts between fast, string-dominated passages (“moorland”) and resonant, brass-dominated passages (“stone boundaries”). The presence throughout the piece of bell-like sections is again inspired by the poem. When Thomas writes of farming within “the sounds of the bell / of the worshipping cathedral” he evokes a time when the mountain-top walls were monastic boundaries. – HT

The Grey Tide and The Green was commissioned by St. David’s Hall, Cardiff with financial assistance from the Arts Council of Wales and premiered 28 July 2001 for The Last Night of the Welsh Proms by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Owain Arwel Hughes.

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