This publication presents under one cover various short works for sundry orchestral scorings.
Larghetto for Orchestra is MacMillan’s orchestration (2017) of his celebrated Miserere for a cappella mixed choir (2009), a setting in Latin of Psalm 51, ‘Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy great mercy’, the penitential text famously set in the 17th century by Gregorio Allegri. The Larghetto orchestration was commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in celebration of Manfred Honeck’s 10th Anniversary as Music Director.
Mémoire impériale is one of a number of variations on General John Reid’s march tune Old Gaul commissioned from Scottish composers to mark the centenary in 1994 of the Faculty of Music at Edinburgh University. The Faculty was established following a bequest by General Reid (1721–1807), a former law student at the University and a renowned flute player and composer of marches for the British Army, and he asked that an annual concert be organised at which one or more of his compositions be played.
Composed in 2012 for the Britten Sinfonia, One is a monody in which a single line is passed around the instruments, painting it with different colours as it emerges and develops. Lasting only a few minutes, its singularity is maintained until blossoming in the last few bars.
For Sonny (2011, orch 2013) and_ Ein Lämplein verlosc_h (2018, orch 2019) are short, private memorial tributes originally for string quartet and here rescored for string orchestra.
Hirta was composed in 2016 as part of Decca’s The Lost Songs of St Kilda project. Nearly a century ago, the last 36 residents were evacuated from the most remote part of the British Isles, St Kilda, an isolated archipelago off the beautiful and rugged western coast of Scotland. After 86 years, the music of St Kilda was rediscovered, recorded in a Scottish care home by Trevor Morrison, an elderly man who had been taught piano by an inhabitant of St Kilda. The songs were ‘reimagined’ for the Decca album by various Scottish composers, the haunting melodies offering a last link to the so-called ‘island on the edge of the world’. MacMillan’s Hirta is performed live by string orchestra, overlaid by Trevor Morrison’s recording. The emotional resonance of the piece far outweighs the simplicity of its conception.