The music of

David Lumsdaine

The music of David Lumsdaine

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Easter Fresco

to my mother

A setting of St John XX: 11-16 for soprano, flute, french horn, harp and piano.

11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, 12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my LORD, and I know not where they have laid him. 14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary.

The composition was inspired, as so many of my works of the later 1950s and early 1960s were, by Renaissance paintings. It refers to the frequently illustrated, ‘Noli me tangere’ spoken by Christ to Mary Magdalene outside the tomb; but my text stops short just of the iconic phrase, at the moment of Mary’s recognition of Christ as he utters her name. The ‘fresco’ of the title not only carried associations with works of art, but also refers to the way I understood my compositional method in this odd little score.

It was composed in March 1966, and given its first performance by Jane Manning and members of the London Sinfonietta, directed by the composer, in a BBC Music in Our Time programme broadcast in 1970.

DL, 2012