- Orchestral/Large Orchestra
The dedication of these pieces to Darius Milhaud were the result of a close acquaintance during the last years of Milhaud’s life, first in Oakland California where Standford was a visiting tutor during Milhaud’s residence there, and later in Geneva where he spent the last few years of his life.
One recurring topic of discussion was the great virtue of brevity of distilling thought and concentrating expression whilst not sacrificing any traditional musical communication to the listener. Each little piece has its own topic of musical discussion, chosen to be the sort of thing that might be dealt with in a short, but meaningful, conversation.
The Epigrams seemed to fulfil Milhaud’s expectations and he showed great enthusiasm for them. Each little piece has its own topic of musical discussion, chosen to be the sort of thing that might be dealt with in a short, but meaningful, conversation.
The first piece is slow and sombre, the second bright and vigorous. The third and fourth are both subdued, one like nocturnal countryside and the other a mountain stream. The last is a cheerful call of farewell!
Epigrams started out as two short pieces written in 1964 for violin and piano first performed by Kenneth Sillitoe and Susan Bradshaw at Dartington Summer School that year. It was then Witold Lutoslawski who suggested that they might be made into chamber orchestral pieces, and the transformation into five short pieces was made that summer. Epigrams was later revised for broadcasts by the BBC and RTE Dublin in 1989, then to become Five Epigrams for chamber orchestra dedicated to Darius Milhaud in gratitude and friendship in 1995 published by Edition Peters.