A false spring is one in which a period of mild weather in late winter/early spring ‘tricks’ dormant vegetation into waking up early. Snowdrops and crocuses appear…then the skies darken, the temperature plummets, the winds gather strength and the snowflakes fall.
This tone poem describes a harsh and sombre scene, sheep with new-born lambs struggling to survive on a fellside in the north of England.
A sampled wind recording sets the background mood. Is this part of the music or merely a sound effect? Since it has a rhythm, similar to the steady pulse of slow breathing, I would argue that it is musical. After a few seconds we hear three intertwining, quasi Baroque figures played on guitars. These are seemingly independent, but they all work to a common beat and scale. If you observe snowdrops bobbing in the wind, they all move in subtly different ways – creating their own counterpoint. A slow moving gentle synth part captures the stillness and the coldness of a landscape where the detail disappears under snowfall, leaving only contours. A shimmering high pitched line captures something of the sunlight falling on snow before an elegiac melody, played on ‘baritone guitar’ tells a mournful story. This is a folk like melody in A minor, with some interesting modal inflections along the way. These lines move in cycles, each at their own pace, before eventually fading away….