Berceuse Elegiaque was composed in the late 1980s by the Yorkshire composer Wilfred Heaton (1918-2000) as a clarinet study for his grand-daughter Emma Stobart. He dedicated this poignant miniature to the memory of her sister Charlotte. It was intended to be the theme for a set of variations, of which only the opening bars of each were sketched. Wilfred Heaton is remembered primarily as a composer of brass band music, his most popular works being composed for The Salvation Army from his teenage years to his mid-30s.
Heaton also composed a number of vocal and instrumental pieces, most of which have strong personal associations, being composed for friends or for The Salvation Army church (Sheﬃeld Park) in which he was brought up and worshipped until the 1950s. Heaton composed very little in his later years. Berceuse Elegiaque was one of his last works and was conceived as an exercise in smooth legato phrasing. It is therefore beautifully shaped for singing. The melody possesses the virtues of simplicity and innocence. The part-writing and “call and response” structure also lend themselves to a choral treatment. Heaton’s clarinet and piano original is included as optional keyboard support. In order to add variety to the strophic structure, I have added contrasting ﬁnal cadences to each verse, a technique which Heaton used in all his verse-chorus song settings.