World Premiere at Kings Place of a New Piano Quartet commissioned from Anthony Payne

"This was, in short, music making at its most engaging, and the enthusiastic and protracted applause created the distinct impression that the audience was, like me, somewhat reluctant to leave the auditorium."

Seen and Heard International, February 2015.


The Primrose has recently commissioned Anthony Payne to write a new Piano Quartet.

The work was premiered at Kings Place on February 15th, 2015 and has been generously supported by the RVW trust and Britten-Pears



Composer, writer, broadcaster, teacher and animateur, Anthony Payne is one of the most respected British musicians of his generation. Born in London in 1936, he began composing as a schoolboy – though, after reading Music at Durham University, he suffered a period of creative uncertainty as he struggled to integrate the innovations of the then-ascendant Continental avant-garde with the Romanticism of early 20th-century British composers such as Elgar, Delius and Vaughan Williams, for which he felt a personal affinity. Only with the completion in his mid-thirties of his Phoenix Mass (1965–72) did he at last sense ‘the natural emergence of a new manner, long sought after but previously only partly envisaged’.
Since then he has accumulated an impressive catalogue of over 50 works in all genres except opera. This has centred on three major orchestral commissions for the BBC Proms: The Spirit’s Harvest (1985), Time’s Arrow (1990) – recorded for commercial release by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Sir Andrew Davis – and Visions and Journeys (2002), subsequently voted by BBC Radio 3 listeners the winner of the 2003 British Composer Awards. Other substantial concert works include the remarkable Spring’s Shining Wake (1981) – a close paraphrase in Payne’s own style of Delius’s In a Summer Garden – and the touchingly autobiographical orchestral variations, The Seeds Long Hidden (1994), while his many varied ensemble pieces range from the rigorously constructivist String Quartet (1978) to the whimsical fantasy of the much played sextet A Day in the Life of a Mayfly (1981). An ensemble piece entitled Windows on Eternity, commissioned by the London Sinfonietta was premiered in 2007.
Meanwhile, Payne has continued to promote the understanding of music through a multiplicity of other activities. As an author, his influential books on Schoenberg and Frank Bridge have more recently been complemented by his monograph on Elgar’s Third Symphony – a companion to his celebrated ‘elaboration’ of the sketches for the work itself, now firmly established in the classical repertory. Over the decades, he has also served as a music critic for The Daily Telegraph, The Independent and Country Life, while contributing to a gamut of more specialist publications ranging from Tempo to The New Grove Dictionary. He has taught in universities as far afield as Australia and the United States, and has broadcast frequently on music – indeed, it was his illustrated talk on Elgar’s sketches, broadcast in 1995 as part of Radio 3’s year-long celebration of British music, Fairest Isle, and subsequently released on disc by BBC Music Magazine, that initially revived widespread interest in a performing realisation of the Third Symphony material.
And, in addition to years of involvement in the Society for the Promotion of New Music, Payne continues to guide the questing young ensemble, Jane’s Minstrels, which he co-founded in 1988 with his wife, the distinguished soprano Jane Manning, as a practical extension of his lifelong dedication to music.

Primrose Concert diary 2014/15

October 2014

18 Horsham Music Circle, Drill Hall, 7.30pm, Mozart, Schumann, Brahms
19 Aarhus, Denmark, Mozart, Schumann, Dvorak
20 Skagen, Denmark, Bridge, Mozart, Brahms
21 Viborg, Denmark, Bridge, Mozart, Francaix, Schumann
22 Birkerod, Denmark, Bridge, Mozart, Brahms
23 Svendborg, Denmark, Bridge, Schumann, Brahms
25 Sonderborg, Denmark, Mozart, Schumann, Dvorak
26 Esbjerg, Denmark, Mozart, Schumann, Dvorak

November 2014:

11 Sheffield University, Firth Hall, 7.30pm, Bridge, Faure, Brahms
21 Melrose Music Society, Melrose Parish Church, 7.30pm, Mozart, Chausson, Dvorak
22 Ayr Music Club, 7.30pm, Mozart, Chausson, Dvorak
23 Absolute Classics Dumfries, Thornhill Buccleuch & Queensberry Arms Hotel, 3pm, Mozart, Chausson, Dvorak

December 2014

7 Stratford Chamber Music Society, Shakespeare Institute, 3pm, Franck, Chausson, Francaix, Faure

January 2015:

12 Ripon Cathedral Concert Society, Ripon Cathedral, 7.30pm, Franck, Chausson, Francaix, Faure
16 Scunthorpe and North Lincolnshire Music Society, Outwood Academy, 7.30pm, Mozart, Faure, Brahms
17 Holmes Chapel Music Society, Leisure Centre, 8pm, Mozart, Faure, Dvorak

February 2015:

1 Battle Parish Church, Battle Concerts, 3pm, Mozart, Schumann, Brahms
15 London Chamber Music Society, Kings Place, 6.30pm, world premiere of new quartet by Anthony Payne, Schumann, Brahms"

March 2015:

26 Imperial College, Sherfield Hall, 1pm, Payne, Brahms<br> <a

May 2015:

5 Aulakonzerte Halle/Saale, Germany, 7.30pm, Bridge, Schubert, Faure, Francaix, Schumann

June 2015

12 Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Music Festival, 1pm, to include Elgar Piano Quintet

16 British Music Festival, Birmingham Conservatoire, 1pm. Anthony Payne Piano Quartet, Brahms A Major Piano Quartet.

August 2015:

Battle Concerts date tbc

September 2015:

11-13 West Meon Festival

19-20 details tbc, Ulverston and Barrow-in-Furness

October 2015:

25 South Place Concert Society, Conway Hall, 6.30pm, Beethoven, Chausson, Brahms

November 2015:

15 Battle Concerts

18 Kendal

February 2016:

10-16 Bulgarian tour