It is with great sadness that we learn of the news that Anthony Payne has passed away. This comes just a month after the death of his wife, mezzo-soprano Jane Manning. A very special, loving partnership, it was a source of great strength and support for them both. Tributes are already flooding in as Tony was much loved by so many.
We only came to know him latterly when he joined Composers Edition in November 2018, but we soon came to understand what a compassionate, modest and gentle man Tony was. He was also impressively honest, straightforward and unpretentious, both as a composer and critic, which gained him many friends and supporters. A true artist, it was clear from our conversations that composing was like breathing for him – a basic necessity of life, with inspiration and exploration daily activities. Creative to the end, he was working on a large-scale single-movement orchestral work, a form of which he was undoubtably a master, and which included some of his finest works Visions and Journeys (2002), The Period of Cosmographie (2010) and Of Land, Sea and Sky (2015-16). All BBC commissions, these went hand-in-hand with the phenomenal success of his widely known orchestrations and completions of works by early 20th Century English masters such as Elgar, Delius and Vaughan Williams. There was also great breadth to his work and it has been our honour to work with Tony on publishing his chamber music.
Thank you Tony – for your music and for being you.
Director, Composers Edition