The overall mood of this sensitive commemorative piece, first performed in April 1996 at Kirkwall East Church, on the Orkney mainland, by Heather Rendall, is quite sombre – if anything, even more simple and restrained than that of Veni Creator Spiritus. The hushed, carol-like central section – sounding as if the adapted chorale were being heard like some distant memory or from afar – is of touching simplicity. This piece might almost have been written by one of Davies’s sixteenth- or seventeenth-century predecessors: Praetorius, perhaps, or Schein. With the return of the plainsong a semitone lower, the harmonies and false relations come tangibly closer to Maxwell Davies’s ‘own’ music, as if by way of a brief, fond ‘farewell’ from the composer; but the textures soon simplify once more, and the work modulates uncomplicatedly and peacefully with an almost unnoticed Tierce de Picardie onto D major.
from notes by Roderic Dunnett © 2004