The Inheritor for voice and string quartet




15 minutes


  • Voice & Ensemble


Soprano or Tenor & String Quartet

In Standford's words, 'Following a request from the tenor Justin Lavender for a new work that would offer a counterbalance to his predominantly operatic work (and yet not use the piano), and the discovery of a slim volume of recent poems by Ursula Vaughan Williams, this cycle of seven settings was written during the heat of August 1991 in quiet isolation on the edge of a Suffolk village. The work was also written for the Allegri Quartet.

The music attempts to establish an even partnership with the words which are haunted by the life that once gave such vigour to all that is past, and should be as much our inheritance as the dust that now cocoons it. Unlike much of my recent work which uses the material of our Western concert heritage, this cycle has no musical quotations from the past. It does however aim to recapture a classical poise and simplicity, and follows an unashamed delight in the making of rewarding vocal lines.'

The Inheritor consists of:

Prologue: 'High sun, full noon-day, where my shadow's cast - this is my day, my strength…'

The City: 'I know myself heir to each reined town…'

The Wine Shop: 'Where did the orchard and the vineyard grow?'

Lost at Sea: 'Bright flocks of fishes move in weightless ease…'

The Mound Burial: 'Dear love at rest, I lay a flower by your hand…'

Avenue and Circles: 'Story tellers say these stones were dancers, because they pair in avenue and circle…'

The Museum: 'In these tall rooms we walk through history…' 

Text: 7 poems from Aspects by Ursula Vaughan Williams used 'with permission'.


The Inheritor First Performance

5th May 1993

Paul Agnew, tenor and Allegri Quartet: Peter Carter violin, David Roth violin, Roger Tapping viola, Bruno Schrecker cello