1. Dedham Vale
  2. Varennes-sous-Dun
  3. The Royal Festival Hall
  4. Newlands Beck
  5. Charlieu

This set of five songs was composed in 1977 and first performed by the baritone, Adrian Pitts, at Ward Freman School, Buntingford, Hertfordshire, with the composer accompanying.

The poems, by John Barber, the school’s Head of English at the time, celebrate significant moments and places in England and France, at the start of a relationship.

The songs are unified by water imagery and the set is constructed in the form of an arch, with the central movement encapturing the climactic atmosphere of a pseudo-Romantic orchestral concert.

The piano accompaniment uses arpeggiated figures to suggest flowing water and the set is unified further with a persistent motif of a falling fifth within the overall interval of a minor sixth. This first occurs in ‘pollarded willows’ in the opening song, but recurs in each song, primarily in the accompaniment, and most prominently in the bravura piano writing immediately before the soloist’s entry in the central song.

Moments has also been transcribed for mezzo-soprano by the composer.