An oboe plays an Italian street song evocative of the Siena night scene which Walton saw and described after he and his publisher, Hubert Foss, escaped from a reception: ‘Up one little street, we stopped on hearing music. We were at the top of the steps to a lower level and at the bottom was a tiny open space lit by one lamp. Four people were playing tangos on mandolins and whistling the tune with a flexatone to help, and one or two couples were dancing. It was such a beautiful sight, so simple and romantic and peasant-like and such a change from the idiotic reception.’ That scene is captured by the delicate orchestration. Some years later, in 1961, Walton heard a recording and admitted he had forgotten the work—‘charming’ was his verdict. He had dedicated it to his friend Stephen Tennant, the ‘original’ of Sebastian Flyte in Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited.
from notes by Michael Kennedy © 2011