A gap of fifteen years separates the somewhat experimental exuberance of Temporal Variations
from the assured mastery of the Six Metamorphoses after Ovid
, written for performance by Joy Boughton on the Meare at Thorpeness on 14 June 1951 during the Fourth Aldeburgh Festival. Like pieces of statuary in some classically conceived garden, these perfect miniatures catch the spirit of ancient Greece with playfulness, humour, compassion and tenderness. The sly languor of Pan, the ill-advised daring of Phaeton, the sad immobility of Niobe, the tipsy revelries of Bacchus and his troop of boys, Narcissus contemplating his own image, the tumbling fountain of Arethusa—all are caught in a perfectly conceived outdoor music that must have yielded pure enchantment at its first performance over the waters on that June afternoon.
from notes by Eric Roseberry © 1995