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perc(1):t.bells/steel pans/lg thundersheet-strings

Abbreviations (PDF)


Boosey & Hawkes

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

Digital Score
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World Premiere
City Hall, Glasgow
Scottish Chamber Orchestra / Joseph Swensen
Composer's Notes

This work came about through a collaborative experiment with the sculptress Sue Jane Taylor. It is a pensive and reflective work for strings and percussion lasting about fifteen minutes, and is mostly slow and static. It is built around a few recurrent melodic motives which revolve n a cyclic and episodic structure. Sometimes the material is very simple, like a single tolling metallic sound accompanied by slowly shifting chords, or a fragmented and hesitant solo violin or viola accompanied by patiently evolving clusters and chords. Sometimes, the material is more assertive involving trills, tremolandi and glissandi and low heavy chords with primally simple percussive ideas.

The whole is intended to give an impression of the island of Iona where St. Columba lived, and died in 597. It is a place of stark and desolate beauty, a focus of deep spiritual resonance and historical significance.

James MacMillan

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

Press Quotes

"Lamenting violins; eruptive, angular drumming; shivering bells: here was a piece with a strong if mysterious sense of place."
The Times

Recommended Recording

Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Joseph Swensen
BIS 1019

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