Acton Burnell Op. 30

Composed: 1997
Duration: 4 minutes
First Performance: First Performance on July 23rd 2011 given by Sally Porter Monro (mezzo), Alexey Popov (viola) and Graham Fitch (piano) at the Royal Grammar School, Worcester.

The meeting between Rennie Parker and Ian Venables has proved to be a fruitful marriage of poet and composer. In her poem ‘Acton Burnell’ Parker has captured brilliantly the veiled majesty and decaying beauty of the seat of England’s first Parliament. Its opening line:

“History is silent, the one door
the dead can enter.”

found immediate resonance in Venables who, in order to heighten the poem’s atmosphere, added a muted viola. It is a languid and transcendent work which finds itself like a moment in time, seeming neither to begin nor end, but merely existing. An almost insistent pedal on the note B flat, and delayed resolutions between viola, and piano and voice, enhance the mood of a place long forgotten through the ravages of time.

Music Sample: Acton Burnell Op. 30