Judith Bailey: Havas - a period of summer Op. 44
Orchestration: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in B flat, 2 bassoons, 4 horns in F (3 & 4 optional), 2 trumpets in B flat, 3 trombones (optional), timpani, percussion (cymbal, gong, side drum, triangle), strings.
Composer's note: The sketches for this composition were made during the summer of 1991 near my home in West Cornwall. I also made paintings of the areas. I have tried to capture the spirit of all three places without making the music either too difficult to play, or too abstruse for the listener.
Havas in in three movements:
1. Lanyon Quoit. This is an imposing stone monument dating from the New Stone Age (Neolithic) period. Quoits are sometimes known as megaliths or dolmens and there are several to be found in Cornwall, especially in the Land's End peninsula. This one is siutated in the Parish of Madron and consists of a huge flat stone resting on several other vertical pillars of stone. Once it was contained within a mound of earth and was used as a burial chamber. The surrounding landscape is rough moorland, with many granite boulders and outcrops of stone. It is a windswept area with no protection from the rain and storms which blow in from the west, yet on a clear summer day it has an aura of timeless tranquillity.
2. The Merry Maidens. Not far away, in the parish of St. Buryan, is a circle of stones known as "The Merry Maidens" (also known as "Dawns Myin" which means "dancing stones"). The story goes that one Sabbath evening some local girls strayed into the fields instead of attending vespers, and, hearing some distant music played on a pipe, then on two pipes, were tempted to begin dancing although it was a holy day. The music and dancing gained momentum spurred on by the increasing excitement of the occasion, and all cares were thrown to the wind. Suddenly, although the sky was clear, there was a great flash of lightning which cast a spell over them all, and turned them all to stone where they still stand. A short distance away are two granite pillars: these are the two pipers which were really evil spirits in disguise.
3. Gwavas Lake. Between Newlyn or Mousehole is an area of coastal water known as Gwavas Lake. It was once enclosed in a forest of beech trees and on one of its banks was a hermitage. The saint who lived there was widely celebrated for his holiness and many peoplecame to him to be healed. The water itself had healing powers and no one left without having gained strength and comfort from their pilgrimage. Once, the Isles of Scilly were joined to the furthest point of Cornwall until there was a great flood which separated them. This flood submerged the forest and destroyed the church and all the people and the priest himself. But on the hill a church was built and dedicated to the saint of the lake, St. Pol, better known as St. Paul. Traces of the forest can still be seen at low tide and the church as nearby Paul stands as a monument to the saint of the lake.