This work was commissioned by the BBC for the 1964 Promenade concerts. It was written in memory of John Hollingsworth who conducted at these concerts for a number of years, and with whom the composer collaborated on scores for films and television from 1955 to 1963.
The score is headed by a quotation from John Donne’s Sermon LXXIII: “… And all the powerful Kings and all the beautiful Queens of this world were but as a bed of flowers, some gathered at six, some at seven, some at eight, all in one Morning, in respect of this Day.”
The title Aubade (Morning song) is thus not intended purely descriptively. The work, in one movement, is built in a simple arch-form around an atmospheric and cadenza-like central section.
Richard Rodney Bennett