Browne's setting of Ben Jonson’s ambitious poem Epitaph on Salathiel Pavy
(subtitled ‘A Child of Queen Elizabeth’s Chapel’), was conceived as a companion piece to ‘Diaphenia’. It relates the tale of a thirteen-year-old chorister who also excelled as an actor, the poet’s conceit being that the child acted an old man so well that the Fates took him to be one and death ensued. The music has the character of a slow, sad dance, like a Pavan, with an extended arched, lamenting melody in the unusual time signatures of 10/4 or 12/4. Elizabethan influences are again apparent, whilst the verses are bound together by a ritornello with a portentous descending chromatic bass and ascending triads, symbols respectively of a summons to the grave, and a gasping for life.
from notes by Andrew Burn © 2003