A set of variations on a theme by Leonardo da Vinci, who as a young man in 1480s Florence was a popular singer and also played the lira da braccio (a posh version of the folk fiddle). This scrap of love–song is written in one of his notebooks. The words (encoded as musical notes) are “Amore la sola mi fa remirare, la sola mi fa sollecita”. [she alone makes me dream of love, she alone makes excites me]. This piece was commissioned by Hannah Marcinowicz with funds provided by the RVW Trust and the Britten–Pears Foundation, and was first performed by Hannah Marcinowicz and Giles Swayne on 8th January 2008 in a Park Lane Group Young Artists concert at the Purcell Room, London.
Park Lane Group Young Artists,
Purcell Room, London,Tuesday 8th January 2008
“This was a memorable first performance of Leonardo’s Dream. Swayne has composed seven aptly enigmatic and airborne variations on a theme discovered in one of Leonardo’s 1486 notebooks: a sweet melody in mirror–writing, a little puzzle of pictures, words and notation. He responds to it with jazzy nonchalance, with trillings, leaps and bumps shared between saxophone and piano, and always with a witty investigation of the quintessence of the melody and the essence of each instrument.”
Hilary Finch, The Times 10th January 2008
“Hannah Marcinowicz . . . also played the premiere of Giles Swayne’s Leonardo’s Dream – variations on a theme by Leonardo da Vinci . . . a pithy work that included a visit to a nightclub – cued with real swing – and notable for giving an abundance of colour and expression to the sax. Leonardo’s Dream should be a mandatory choice next time a saxophonist is invited to play in a PLG concert.”
Colin Anderson, Classical Source 9th January 2008