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MacMillan, James: Tuireadh (1991, arr.1995) 22'
arr. for clarinet and string orchestra


This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

World premiere of version

Filharmonia Baltycka, Gdansk
Karol Respondek, clarinet / Gdansk Philharmonic / James MacMillan

Composer's Notes

Tuireadh is Gaelic for a lament (or requiem) for the dead, and this work is dedicated to the victims of the Piper Alpha disaster and their families. It was written as a musical complement to the memorial sculpted by Sue Jane Taylor and place in Aberdeen. The disaster affected the whole nation deeply and it still haunts the relatives of the dead.

In responding to this I was specifically inspired by a letter sent to me by one of the dead men’s mothers who wrote movingly of her visit to the scene for a memorial service. This became a rite of passage for those whose loved ones had not been found, and the mother described how a spontaneous keening sound rose gently from the mourners assembled on the boat.

The work attempts to capture this outpouring of grief in music and makes allusions to the intervallic and ornamental archetypes of various lament-forms from Scottish traditional music.

James MacMillan

Reproduction Rights
This programme note can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to the composer

Press Quotes

"Tuireadh, for clarinet and string orchestra, is a thematically terse elegy for the victims of the Piper Alpha oil rig disaster in 1991, searingly intense and precisely focused; MacMillan has written nothing better."
The Guardian

Recommended Recording

Martin Fröst/BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Osmo Vänskä
BIS 1169

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