Variations on Papaver Rhoeas was premiered in London on the 30th October2018 by pianist Megumi Fujita. The cconcert was arranged to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One, the programme made up of pieces by composers who took part in, or were affected by the War.
Papaver Rhoeas is the Latin name for the poppy which is the symbol for the remembrance of conflicts and wars, and in particular World War One. A feature of the First World War poppy is that it has four petals, and so I have created four short variations, movements 1, 2, 4, and 5. For these pieces, I had in my mind the image of youth, anger, reflection and release, the latter being the exhilaration, if any, of surviving. But fundamental to Variations on Papaver Rhoeas is the more substantial third movement, , a symbol of the central black core of the flower.
At the outset of drafting the piece, I had begun with this third movement under a title of The Hypocrisy of War, I had been struck by solemn-looking dignitaries and politicians on the day of the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War One - on that day a major new Arms contract was announced in the UK.
Variations on Papaver Rhoeas forms the basis of a new work for piano and orchestra, Silvered Night, recorded in September 2019 by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conductor Hilary Davan Wetton with pianist Mark Bebbington as soloist. This work will be released in September 2020.