Skip to main content

Change in opening times
Due to a staff event, the Health Sciences and Brotherton Libraries are closed on Monday 17 June. Our Edward Boyle and Laidlaw Libraries will be open as usual.
Check opening hours before you visit.

ApIvor's later styles

In the early 1970s, there are indications of a relaxation of style, characterised by jettisoning of twelve-note organisation of pitch material and the re-introduction of elements of tonality. Works which reflect this include Fern Hill, Op. 56 (1973), the composer's second and final setting of Dylan Thomas (the first was the substantial Cantata of 1961), with music constructed around an intuitively conceived vocal melisma. Similar signs are also apparent in the two Lorca-inspired instrumental works composed in 1972, El Silencio Ondulado, Op. 51 for guitar and orchestra and Saeta, Op. 53 for solo guitar. These are essentially impressionistic works, inspired by brief passages from Lorca's Poema del Cante Jondo, whose distinct tonal leanings are conditioned to some extent by the composer's writing for the guitar. Two further large-scale vocal settings also require consideration: the Vox Populi, Op. 58 (1974-75), a collection of fourteen songs utilising texts from the Faber Book of Popular Verse, and Love's Season, Op. 76 (1983) a cycle of fourteen settings of texts by Dowson for tenor and strings.

Between 1983 and 1988, ApIvor's ability to compose declined as a result of his growing disillusionment with what he refers to as "the obsession with timbres and 'ways of composing'; of 'music about music' [...] which had persisted unchecked for some forty years or more." The resolution of this crisis occurred in 1989 following his exposure to works such as John Tavener's The Protecting Veil (1987) and Arvo Pärt's Stabat mater (1985), which encouraged him to return to a diatonic style based upon simple melodic formulae and chord progressions. Composition was, as a result, resumed in ApIvor's String Quartet No. 3, Op. 84 (1990), which employed a simple restricted modality in each of its three movements. The simplicity of approach which characterises the composer's final period, 1989-96, is also bound up with his increasing interest in Buddhism with at least two pieces expressing a specific connection with this. ApIvor's Symphony No. 5, Op. 87 (1991) contains an entitled, 'The departure of the Buddha', while the Pieces of Five for saxophone, Op. 88 (1992) are based on a short saying by Lao Tzu which refers to the 'five notes'.