Andrew also is a keen photographer and photo-editor and has created a suite of images to go with each track on the album, all taken and/or edited by him. Of his photographic work, he says:

“I pretty much only ever take pictures of outdoor and rural scenes, rather than people, as I’m interested in the mood of things rather than a physical or visual record of them. I also always take pictures with music in mind. When I load the pictures onto my computer and begin editing, it’s always with a particular track in mind. I especially enjoy experimenting with shapes and shadows, and love editing photos to make the best use of the contrasts, tones, colours and moods of natural light. All of the pictures in the extended excerpts below were taken specifically to accompany this album and then arranged and edited into suites of style and colour for each track. I adopted a slightly stronger tonal range for the pictures on the Sampler (see ‘Listen’) than I have below, because the Sampler moves fairly quickly from track to track and visual theme to visual theme, and to make that work I felt I needed to create greater contrast between each suite of pictures. On the excerpts below, I have softened a lot of these effects, whilst trying to retain the beauty, drama and musical relevance of the imagery. I hope you like them.”

Track 1 – Into The Trees

In these images, I’ve reduced the woodland to traditional black-and-white but then moderately increased the contrast to sharpen the lines of the trees, etc – especially on the sunnier shots.  Here and there I’ve blurred the distinction between leaves and branches slightly to create an impression of the woods as something ethereal – something that you could happily get lost in.

Into The Trees

This was the first track I wrote, and it seemed appropriate it should be first on the album. It’s the sort of memory anyone can have – whether you’re a soldier going to war or, like myself, a composer and pianist in the 21st century who just happens to love the British countryside. I’ve always felt there’s no feeling quite like walking in woods and forests. I have many favourites where my family and I have spent wonderful days exploring. But this track was inspired by one in particular, in the very southern tip of Cumbria. The path leading to it is utilitarian and ordinary, but suddenly, the trees are in front of you and you disappear into them. There is no feeling quite like it. We go back there at least a couple of times every year and it’s a memory that never loses its magic or warmth.

Read about ‘Into The Trees’ – the music

Track 2 – The Two Towers

I’ve used the feint green wash to try and give a sense of abandonment, but also some affection (of which I have a great deal for this particular building!). The paleness of the hue creates a heightened visual relationship with the stone, and I’ve even taken the decision to sacrifice some sharpness of focus here and there, to enable crops which concentrate on the stone, and thus avoid overgrown bushes, etc. There’s also a hint of warmth added to the sky or natural daylight whenever it appears – achieved by increasing the depth of hue but adjusting high- or mid-tones of the brightness range as appropriate to each shot.

The Two Towers

This track combines a gentle, ultimately flowing, first section with an arpeggio-based second theme (the slightly stronger ‘main’ theme of the piece). The latter comes in after about a minute, introducing a completely different and sudden tempo change, signalling something new. This second theme is very still, slightly Bachian in feel. The title is designed to evoke exactly what it says… two old towers, standing over a town or village somewhere in England. The exchange of themes throughout the piece suggests communication between the two – almost as if two lovers were sending messages to and fro. They blend at the close, as if to suggest a long-awaited first meeting.

Read about ‘The Two Towers’ – the music

Track 3 – Riversong

The high-contrast effect I’ve employed here is designed to stress the ‘black’ of water and the ‘white’ of foam (and of light on the water). The purple tint I’ve added is much milder than you might think (it’s at a very low saturation level) but still manages to have a striking effect. The intention of both these measures is to emphasise the ‘other-worldly’ potential of water, especially in natural, rural surroundings. The track isn’t supposed to be sinister in any way – in fact most people find it quite touching and emotional – but it does fluctuate between major and minor tonalities, representing water as a thing of mystery as well as a thing of beauty.


This is an unashamed, simple flowing melody, reflecting my own love of lakes and rivers, streams and waterfalls. There are three main themes, each one starting in a different harmonic area, but all three somehow leading back, almost like a meandering stream, to the ‘home’ key of C. When I originally wrote it, I played this piece much more quickly than you hear it on this recording; what you hear now is the result of my producer, Phil, suggesting we try it at a slower pace. I think he’s right – this version does seem to evoke the peace and stillness of gently flowing water much more than my earlier version.

Read about ‘Riversong’ – the music

Track 4 – Glimpses

As with the music on this track, I tried to edit these images in such a way that I could place an emphasis on things seen only fleetingly, or from a distance. Again, the blue wash is at a very low level of saturation, but it still manages to have an impact that varies from the dramatic to the subtle, depending on the composition of the scene; it’s usually more dramatic where there is a lot of natural light, skyline, clouds or white water.


In this track, I tried to create a motif that represented something glimpsed – something beautiful and arresting, but seen just for a fleeting moment. Thus, the little semiquaver shapes that appear in the melody feature twice in almost every single four-bar sequence of the piece. The inspiration for the notion of ‘glimpsing’ something picturesque but brief was the way sunlight flashes through, for instance, the gaps between trees in a forest (especially on wintry days, when the sun never seems higher than about 45 degrees) or doors, windows and passages, seen from both inside and out. I had seen just such a thing while out walking with my son when I was writing the piece, but on top of that, I had the feeling that my imaginary soldier, taking his memories to war, would need to transform short, fleeting sights and emotions into big, heart-warming reminiscences to comfort him in the worst of times.

Read about ‘Glimpses’ – the music

Track 6 – The Fading Light

The tint on this suite of images is not sepia, but a light yellowish brown, which I felt provided a warm but still moving evocation of light fading and the sun setting, without the traditional yellow/orange glow of the cinema screen. The contrast is not set as high as in the other suites of pictures, as I wanted to maintain both softness and detail. Interestingly, the adjustment and editing of middle and high tones achieves greater emphasis on shadow and shape than actually adjusting the shadow settings.  The result of this process is we can see an element of detail where I often opt for shape-only, and this clarifies what effect the fading light has – not only on the sky but on the land and sea as well.

The Fading Light

About 13 years ago, when my son was still a baby, we spent a summer holiday in Dorset, in an apartment about 50 metres from the sea. One evening, while my wife put Charlie to bed, I sat on the beach and read a Tim Lott novel from about 7pm until the light faded so much I could no longer see the words. The memory of that slowly fading light, descending over the sea, struck me as incredibly beautiful and soothing, and has stayed with me ever since. I’ve often been struck by the shapes and shadows of the sky as dusk settles (especially in the countryside) and I wanted to reflect this as one of my own memories for the album. I chose a repetitive cellular idea for the main theme because it provided a structure in which to house a brooding sequence of simple chords that conveyed the picture I was trying to portray. I hope you agree.

Read about ‘The Fading Light’ – the music

Track 9 – The Perfect Sky

For this suite of images I chose pictures which not only make the sky ‘perfect’ or dramatic and beautiful, but which, through the use of editing, emphasise the beauty of the foreground as well. Perfection is not just the Dark Sky status I describe in the album notes (total blackness) but also the perfection of nature’s own shapes and effects in the sky (which I’ve chosen to colour in a warm but very dramatic way).  Again (especially the shot with the boats and the one with the tower on the hill), I’ve chosen to reduce my visual contrast settings to let the foreground detail have a voice in the overall content and composition of the image.

The Perfect Sky

This would definitely be one of my own twelve Silver Dial memories – inspired by witnessing a part of the UK which can boast an official ‘Dark Sky’ – an area where the sky can achieve total darkness at night, without any diffusion of artificial light from towns and cities. My experience of it was the sky above Kielder Forest, in Northumberland, on holiday there with my wife and children about 3 years before writing this piece. It’s an area of intense beauty anyway, but the ‘perfect’ sky, without any blemishes or intrusions from man – merely heightened the experience. The piece has lots of short melodic fragments, all hovering at the top of the treble stave, and all combining to make an unusual melodic whole, which never confirms its minor key in a traditional way. It seemed like the right framework for the subject matter, and I hope it comes across that way to the listener.

Read about ‘The Perfect Sky’ – the music

Track 10 – Esther’s Favourite Place

In these images I wanted to try to convey the duality of the location: serene and sunny but also capable of being cloudy and brooding. These pictures were taken on two separate occasions, months apart, so hopefully the difference is discernible. I chose blue as a tint, despite its traditional ‘coldness’, as I wanted to dispel the myth that a location can’t look bright, sunny, warm and welcoming even when washed in a hue of almost peppermint blue! Some are artificially tinted in filter blue while others were actually photographed in a Bluescale setting on a smartphone. You’ve a good eye if you can spot which is which!

Esther’s Favourite Place

In short, Esther is my ten year-old daughter and her favourite place is the pebble beach just north of Silverdale, on Morecambe Bay. The beach looks out onto the UK’s largest expanse of coastal sand, and the Kent estuary emerges from Arnside and hugs the rocky coastline to both north and south. The pebbles are almost white, the sky goes on forever and decades of sea wind have bent the cliff-top hawthorns into shapes of permanent submission. It’s always peaceful – in fact often deserted. Sometimes a glorious sunlight bounces off the sea like a thousand candles; sometimes the cold sends you scurrying for shelter into one of dozens of nooks and crannies among the cliffs and trees. It is a magical place, and my daughter has chosen well. I wanted to capture all of this in one track – the peacefulness of the two main rustic melodies; the dramatic counterpoint in the sections where semiquavers undulate and climb around the chordal structures, as if across the rocks; and the love the place inspires in me – my own father first took me there when I was about 7, and as soon as mine could walk I did the same.

Read about ‘Esther’s Favourite Place’ – the music