Merseyside Echoes

Orchestra: 3-3-3-3 4-4-3-1 4 perc/strings [duration 11’] (1988)

Everybody knows the sound of the early Beatles with classics like ‘Can’t buy me love’ which challenged the supremacy of American popular music. When Peter Dickinson was commissioned to write a work for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic he thought of the Liverpool sound of the fabulous four and decided to make an orchestral realisation of some of their effects in a nostalgic context.

There is no actual quotation but the two popular songs employed are designed to suggest early Beatles. Merseyside Echoes opens with a fanfare, which has echoes, and then the first song comes on English horn, then trumpet. The opening fanfare returns with more echoes: then the second song appears, on the vibraphone, then alto flute and muted trumpet, and then the whole orchestra gradually becomes involved. Finally, after more fanfares and echoes, both pop songs are heard together - in the Ives tradition they don’t really fit - and the work ends dismissing the last vestiges of the echoes.

Merseyside Echoes was commissioned by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and first performed by them under Barry Wordsworth on 6 December 1988 in Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool. It has been recorded by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales under Clark Rundell.

© 2008-24 Estate of Peter Dickinson