This work was commissioned by Pembroke College, Cambridge to celebrate the 600th anniversary of' their foundation. It was first performed at St. John's Smith Square, London on the 18th of March 1998 by Emma Johnson and the Vanbrugh Quartet.
My idea in writing this piece was to depict a journey. The title comes from a poem of that name by W.H. Auden. I have used one or two simple musical ideas and transformed them as the journey progresses through different moods and landscapes. I had come across the Auden poem whilst searching out texts for a vocal work, and it was ideal as a programme for this piece because it is a quite dramatic journey, a mini-saga, full of incident and extreme contrast. The music is similarly dramatic, moving between extremes of tempo and dynamics. The clarinet is treated not so much as a solo instrument, more as a member of the ensemble, its timbre either blending or contrasting with that of the strings. It is in seven sections, played without a break.