Lines of Life II - Voices / Kinderscenen Jeremy Dale Roberts

Lines of Life II - Voices / Kinderscenen cover
20 mins
1987 to 1988

Sinfonietta/Chamber Orchestra

1 Flute (=piccolo=alto flute), 1 Oboe (=Cor anglais), 1 B-flat Clarinet (=E-flat Clarinet=bass clarinet+E-flat extension), 1 Bassoon, 1 Horn in F, 1 Trumpet in B-flat, 1 Trombone, 2 Percussion, 1 Timpani, 1 Harp, 1 Piano (=celeste), 2 Violin, 1 Viola, 1 Violoncello, 1 Double Bass + 5 string extension

Purchasing options

Score ISMN 57020-900-2 £17.95 Buy now
Parts ISMN 57020-901-9 ––– Available for hire

lyric episodes for large ensemble

Programme note

Composed 1987-88; revised 1995.

The title of this work – actually the second in a sequence – comes from one of Holderlin’s poetic fragments: a passage that conveys with great simplicity the healing enlightenment that he still felt able to affirm, even when he was already overshadowed by madness.

            'The lines of life are various, as roads are, and the mountains boundaries. What here we are, yonder a god can complete with harmonies, eternal recompense, and peace’.

The narrative, or reverie, unfolds in a succession of lyric episodes, most of them reflective, which are harshly obtruded upon, with increasing force, by four chorale-like ritornelli. Also interleaved are two more densely crowded developments for the ensemble, as well as more playful material. Lasting around 20 minutes, the piece falls into two sections. Although the musical strands in this piece are variegated – some indeed are recalled from forty years ago – there is, I hope a secure ‘family resemblance’ enshrined in the feature of a major third.

Cavafy’s poem is essential:


            Ideal and dearly beloved voices

            of those who are dead, or of those

            who are lost to us like the dead.


            Sometimes they speak to us in our dreams;

            sometimes in thought the mind hears them.


            And for a moment with their echo other echoes

            return from the first poetry of our lives –

            like distant music fading away at night.


Commissioned by the BBC, this work was first performed by Lontano under Odaline de la Martinez in a BBC Pebble Mill Concert in 1988.

Lontano cond. Odaline de la Martinez, 1988