for guitar
13 mins.
Aug. 1976
  1. Prelude
  2. Balletto
  3. Scherzo
  4. Cantilena
  5. Toccata

Edited by Julian Bream

Programme notes

Suite for guitar was written in Wiltshire in August 1976, during a break from work on my second orchestral piece Pentecost music. It was prompted by my bumping into my neighbour Julian Bream on the platform of Tisbury railway station when we were both seeing friends off on the same train. When I finished the piece, he agreed to edit it for publication, and I am enormously grateful for the invaluable technical help he gave me, then and at other times.

The Suite is in five contrasted movements (Prelude, Balletto, Scherzo, Cantilena and Toccata) and the style is relaxed and pushes no boundaries. While I was writing it, my mind was preoccupied by thoughts about Benjamin Britten, who was seriously ill at the time, and died four months later in December. In a small and humble way it is a homage to a composer whose music was a backdrop to my childhood and early life. As I developed my own musical voice, my admiration for it became qualified, but I never lost my love of his music at its best, nor my respect for his brilliance and (more importantly than that) his engagement with the world around him and his determination to be useful to the living.