The Greatest Refreshment

Additional Information

This is dedicated to the memory of my grandfather, who was a gardener, and was written in 2005. He died in 1991, after which I wrote the poem sung here by the upper voices. When I set it, I decided to meld my words with those of Genesis chapter 2, verses 7–8: ‘And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden [“paradisum”]; and there he put the man whom he had formed.’ The title for the piece comes from Francis Bacon’s 1625 essay ‘Of Gardens’: ‘God Almighty first planted a garden; and, indeed, it is the purest of human pleasures; it is the greatest refreshment to the spirits of man …’