Love Song for mezzo-soprano, piano or harp, and strings
Both Love Song, written in 1976, and Dreamscape, written a year later, also for voice and piano, grew from Camilla and Andrzej Panufnik’s acquaintance with the English composer and pianist Peter Dickinson and his sister Meriel Dickinson, a singer with a warm mezzo-soprano. It was her request that prompted the composer to write the Love Song to words by the English poet Sir Philip Sidney.
In this simple composition Panufnik came closest to the classical stanzaic form, using two verses of a poem. The most important is the first, 4-bar phrase, featuring the words “My true love hath my heart”, which recurs several times, always with the same melodic line, beginning, however, with a different note on each occasion. The gentle melodic line of the voice is combined with a simple piano accompaniment, which is to emphasize the text. Sometimes the song is performed in a version for voice and harp instead of piano.
Panufnik returned to the Love Song in the last weeks of his life to arrange it for mezzo-soprano, harp (or piano) and string orchestra, at the request of the conductor Mark Stephenson. This was his last work as a composer.