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Stephen Watkins's original composition Unheard Serenade for cello octet is now available. A graduate of the Guidhall School of Music in London, Mr. Watkins majored in trombone and piano, although his main interest was in composition and he has since switched to the cello as his primary instrument. Having studied with very diverse composition professors, Stephen Watkins has published a large body of compositions and arrangements through publishing houses in the US, Holland, Austria and Germany.
This is a simple charming piece which an ensemble of mixed technical ability would enjoy playing. This quintessentially little English piece takes its inspiration from the second verse of a poem by Thomas Hardy from 'Let me enjoy', the first poem of 'A set of country songs' from 'At Casterbridge Fair'.
The wordless serenade is one which Hardy might have sung to this unknown lady. It is based on a ground bass, used very much in the manner of Purcell, and is the combination of the form of an archaic composer with the words of a poet known for his enthusiasm for archaic music. I have tried to portray Hardy's stoic attitude with a musical language that expresses feelings that he felt needed to be suppressed. --Stephen Watkins
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The words of the verse from Thomas Hardy's poem that inspired this piece are below:
About my path there flits a Fair, Who throws me not a word or sign; I'll charm me with her ignoring air, And laud the lips not meant for mine.