The piece is split into seven parts: Andante Semplice, Poco Piu Mosso, Allegro Ritmico, Andante, Allegro Ma Non Tanto, Moderato, and Adante Semplice.
‘A Leaf’ had begun life as a solo piano composition. McCartney wrote it shortly after the completion of Liverpool Oratorio, and it was first performed by pianist Anya Alexeyev on 23 March 1995 at the charity concert An Evening With Paul McCartney at St James’s Palace in London. A recording of the performance was released as a CD single in the UK in April 1995.
The piece was then arranged for a full orchestra by Jonathan Tunick, and was recorded at AIR Lyndhurst Hall studio with the London Symphony Orchestra on 23 July 1996, along with ‘Spiral’. The recordings went unused, however, and it was re-recorded for Working Classical on 9 November 1998.