First Impressions (2002)
String Quartet With Piano
Harold Monro was a British poet who was born in 1879. Son of a Scottish civil engineer and his wife, he ran the Poetry Bookshop in London and founded the Poetry review magazine, which helped many poets to bring their work before the public. In the turn of the century, he was called for military service during the First World War, but he was not a mainstream war poet. Although the conflicts inside himself proved to be even bigger than those around him, his sensible world view and the ability to write about simple everyday issues with a delicate approach was his greatest achievement. This song cycle not only gives new life to these poems almost a century after they were first published, but also attempts to emphasize their deepest meanings ultimately stimulating self-reflection on the listeners.
The first song “Solitude” is concerned with the state of loneliness. Humans are social beings, and though everyone wants to be alone sometimes, few people really would like to live a lonely life. In this song the perception of time is distorted while all other events seem to be oversized in order to recreate the annoying sensation of monotony that finally leads to despair. “Child of Dawn” is the slowest song of the cycle, which reveals itself as an image on steam that suddenly disappears. It is about the frailty of life itself, as ephemeral yet beautiful as the color of the sky in the first light of a new day. “The Nightingale near the House” represents the cry of the inner voice, fulfilling the need for expression that lies inside every human being, like a bird which sings in the stillness of the night.