Shadows: Six Portraits of William Baines Sadie Harrison

Shadows: Six Portraits of William Baines cover
18 mins

Solos, Duos & Trios Solos •• Solo piano

1 Piano

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Score ISMN 57036-460-2 £8.95

solo piano

Programme note

These short pieces are inspired by the extraordinary piano music of the little known Yorkshire composer William Baines. Baines died in 1922 at the age of 23 but left behind a substantial catalogue of over 150 works. Likened to that of Scriabin, Baines’ piano music is sensuous, highly coloured and quite unlike anything being written by his British contemporaries. Shadows (Volume I) are reflections on episodes from Baines’ life and diary entries, each piece incorporating a chord, a gesture or a figuration from one of Baines’ solo piano works. It was particularly fitting that the set received its premiere in Yorkshire in the fabulous surroundings of Ripon Cathedral. 

I ..waiting.. 11 Shepstye Road, Horbury, Yorkshire (for P.J.H.)
William Baines was born at home on Palm Sunday, 26 March 1899. The hymn is a quotation from ‘Mary to the Saviour's tomb' by Simeon B.Marsh, sung at Easter. It is taken from The Primitive Methodist Hymnal with Supplement Tunes, edited by George Booth and published in 1899, the year of William’s birth. Baines’ family were members of the Primitive Methodist Church.

II Horbury Co-op Cinema 1912: Ghosts (for J. L. in memorium 'Bergland Batch')
In his early teens Baines often deputised for his father as the pianist for silent movies at the Horbury Cinema. A un-tuned piano....a projector.....dust....

III 'Tomorrow I shall be in khaki.' (for J.W. RAF Regiment)
Baines was conscripted into the army on 4 October 1917 as an Officer's batman in the R.A.F. (Blandford Camp, Dorset.) On the 3 October he wrote in his diary: 'Only those who have my temperament can understand what it means.’ The piece is a relentless depiction of war - a relentless march, machine guns...

IV '..out into the lonely grey..' (for R. J.D. x)
The title is a quotation from Baines' diary describing a boat trip on The Frenchman - out of Bridlington Harbour and around his beloved Flamborough Head (August 11, 1921). The piece is based on the folksong 'Build me a boat that will carry two'.

V '..after I had played le Rossignol..' (for W.M.)
Baines gave his last public recital on 28 March 1922 in Gainsborough, a great success despite the 'appalling piano'...In his diary he noted, 'One dear old lady clapped so much that a bird dropped out of her hat.'

VI ..waiting.. 91 Albemarle Road, The Mount, York (for T.L.W.)
Baines died from tuberculosis at home on 6 November 1922, aged 23. The movement depicts his parent’s long wait and Baines’ gradually failing breath. It is marked ‘As slow as heavy time passing’.

World premiere at Ripon Cathedral Lunchtime Concert Series, Thursday 18 July 2013, by Duncan Honeybourne.

Duncan Honeybourne, Lunchtime Concert Series at Ripon Cathedral, 16th July 2013
  • 10 Nov 2018 |

    Holy Trinity Church, Eccleshall, Staffordshire


    Duncan Honeybourne (piano)

  • 20 Apr 2018 | 9:30pm |

    Gillingham Methodist Church, Dorset 


    Duncan Honeybourne (piano)

  • 6 Nov 2017 | 1:10pm |

    St. James’ Piccadilly, London


    Duncan Honeybourne (piano)

  • 18 Jul 2013 | 1:15pm |

    Lunchtime Concert Series, Ripon Cathedral


    Duncan Honeybourne (piano)