Evening Song

Original version
lyrics by Sam Brown
1997 (vn/vc soli)
Duration 8’

Jon Lord: piano
Sam Brown: vocals
Vytas Sondeckis: cello solo
Haagen Kuhr: cello
Ina Stock: oboe and cor anglais
Frank Stuck: French horn
Rodrigo Reichel: violin
Stefan Pintev: violin
Mike Routledge: viola
Mario Argandoña: percussion
Pete York: orchestral percussion
Colin Hodgkinson: fretless bass
Thijs van Leer: flute
Rick Keller: soprano saxophone
(Pictured Within, Virgin Classics 7243 493704 25)

Piano-vocal score by Paul Mann also available

Instrumental version
1(alto).0.0.0- solo.str. (vn/vc soli)
Duration 8’

Jon Lord: piano
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Clark Rundell
(To Notice Such Things, Avie, AV 2190)

Jon Lord’s note:
Evening Song started life in the mid-90s, on my CD Pictured Within, with lyrics and vocals by Sam Brown. It was written about that wonderful time of the evening, or also perhaps the time in your life, when you are prone to sitting, staring out of the window as the sun bleeds from the sky, and it’s all rather gentle and beautiful, the birds are flying home, gratitude replaces concern for the humdrum, and peace descends.

A note by Paul Mann:
There are two extant arrangements of Evening Song. The first is Jon’s original, as used on the Pictured Within album, with lyrics and vocals by Sam Brown. It is clear from the score layout that he started out by keeping his options open to use a larger orchestra, but evidently decided against it, settling for strings and a single French horn. I have edited his sometimes incomplete score, occasionally taking a lead from the more detailed instrumental version which he prepared for the To Notice Such Things CD (see below) but haven’t dared to go further. It is in any case difficult to see what could be added to the instrumentation of a song which, like its equally touching counterpart Wait A While, is all the more deeply affecting for its restraint.

The second version is Jon’s purely instrumental arrangement, which appears on the CD To Notice Such Things. Its subtlety lies in the skilful redistribution of the original vocal line between solo piano, a pair of horns, alto flute, and string orchestra. Even in this wordless form, it evokes Jon’s ‘…summer evening, with maybe even a glass of wine involved, but certainly a comfortable chair and a big window.’ (I like that ‘even’…)

If Bach and Ravel can be said to haunt Air on the Blue String, the ghosts of two other great composers are present here. Elgar dedicated his Enigma Variations ‘to my friends pictured within’, and of course it was from this that Jon took his album title. So there are hints of Elgar’s Nimrod in the opening notes of the piano solo (in the same key of E Flat Major), and one might also wonder what thoughts of loss are behind the horn call at the beginning, a direct quotation from the opening of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata Op.81a, (also in E Flat) over the manuscript of which Beethoven wrote the word ‘Lebewohl’ (farewell’.)

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