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I wanted to write music independent of outside sources. So this Piano Quintet has no programme or hidden story. The bells in the second movement are not the bells of Gubbio; yet, in some way, I suspect that all those summer sensations have coloured this score.
The first movement, marked ‘Energetic’ starts with a little piano figure that could be evocative of birdsong, and also playfully refers to the opening gesture of his first big operatic success ‘Flight’. It is a moto perpetuo, with two points of rest, a floating theme interrupts twice, and there is a striking, extended build up from the depths of piano and cello to the extreme top of the range of all instruments.
The slow movement is the emotional heart of the piece, starting with a serene threnody that could be a distant and sunnier relation of the famous Adagietto from Mahler’s 5th symphony. This is interrupted by a striking bell like figure in the piano, and these two discrete sound worlds eventually build to a solemn processional. Though Dove disavows a programme for this work, the music is visual and atmospheric and builds to a climax of almost cinematic intensity. The finale is a more rumbustious, straightforward piece, with a catchy tripping rhythm, which though regular, cunningly wrong foots the listener, and it sustains a summery festival mood to a joyous conclusion.
from notes by Julian Grant © 2017