The music of "Egdon Heath," inspired by Thomas Hardy's The Return of the
Native, is elusive and unpredictable. Its three main elements are set out at
the beginning-a pulseless wandering melody, first for double basses and then all
the strings, a sad brass processional and restless music for strings and oboe.
All three intertwine and transmute, eventually coming to rest with music of
desolation, out of which emerges a ghostly dance, the strangest moment in a
strange work. After this comes a resolution of sorts, and the ending, though
hardly conclusive, gives the impression of an immense journey achieved, even
though "Egdon Heath" lasts no more than 12 minutes.