For the Aldeburgh Festival in 1953, Benjamin Britten
commissioned a set of variations on an Elizabethan theme ‘Sellingers Round’
from five composers: Lennox Berkeley, Arthur Oldham, Humphrey Searle,
Michael Tippett, William Walton and Britten himself. Using a similar
approach for the 2002 Killaloe Music festival, the Irish Chamber Orchestra
commissioned 5 Irish composers to work on a multi-movement piece using the W.B.
Yeats poem ‘The Song of Wandering Aengus’ as their inspiration.
The Moon was commissioned as the fourth movement and is a
quiet nocturnal evocation of the inner thoughts of wandering Aengus. His
sense of loneliness and grief is captured in this brief impression for string
orchestra which features long fading tremolos, haunting unison lines and
delicate chordal passages.
Michael Dervan, Irish Times:
“The finest playing (Irish Chamber Orchestra) came in Elaine Agnew’s
The Moon, a response to W.B Yates’s The Song of Wandering
Aengus. Agnew’s atmospheric piece is built of what are made to seem like
freely wandering lines, captured in delicate hues and half-tones. The
orchestra made the most of the opportunity to explore a quiet