Knowing little of him, the first work of Patrick Hawes that I listened to was his recent collection entitled 'The Highgrove Suite'. The piece was commissioned by Prince Charles to celebrate his home in Gloucestershire. This is obvious when you listen to it, as it paints a beautiful picture of English countryside through the use of glittering harp solos and thick string textures and harmonies. The 25 minute composition includes the movements 'Godess of the Woods', 'The Wildflower Meadow' (my favourite!), 'Sanctuary' and 'The Gladiator', all of which were inspired by the gardens at Highgrove, and were expanded from the first movement that was originally composed for Charles' 60th birthday. I instantly fell in love with the suite, simply because of the number of luxuriously romantic themes and motifs that Hawes incorporates throughout the suite.
The Highgrove Suite
Highgrove House in Gloucestershire
The opening of 'The Wildflower Meadow' is instantly enchanting. From a harp solo accompanied by upper strings and pizzicato celli, it develops into a rich and glorious texture of Hawes' typically English use of harmony and orchestration, and, similar to the architecture of the setting; classical, well-shaped and generally very beautiful. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a decent recording on Youtube. However, I insist that it is an album worth buying. To listen to extracts of each of the four movements, click here.