This piece is a paraphrase of a song that Wood wrote between 30 January and 1 February 1983 to a poem by Robert Graves called ‘Bird of Paradise’.
The music is continuous, but falls into five sections, of which the first three are variations on the emerging material of the song. In the fourth (which is the loudest), the original vocal line may most clearly be heard: it has been somewhat extended both in length and in register. In the fifth and final section, the pianoforte plays the song line in the manner of a chorale; and later the clarinet recapitulates the closing phrase of the song quite fairly exactly. The opening of the song is heard on the highest register of the clarinet before the close.
'Paraphrase' was written for Nicholas Cox and was first performed with Vanessa Latarche at the Wigmore Hall on 4 March 1985. It was composed during 1984/85.