A Cage of Doves

Composition Date: 2007

Duration: 10'

Orchestration: 2+pic.2.2+bcl.2+cbn/4.3.3.1/timp.perc/hp/cel/strings

Information:

 

Commissioned by the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, with funding from Norsk Kulturråd (The Norwegian Cultural Fund), and first performed by the  Stavanger Symphony Orchestra conducted by Eivind Aadland in Stavanger Concert Hall, January 17th, 2008 as part of Stavanger - European Capital of Culture 2008.

 

Programme Note:

 

A Cage of Doves

 

Dedicated to Sir Peter Maxwell Davies

 

This work is inspired by the Orcadian George Mackay Brown’s poetic and innovative novel, Magnus, which tells the story of the martyred saint Magnus Erlendsson. St Magnus gave his life to achieve peace in the Orkney Islands when his cousin Haakon would no longer accept joint rule. Both earls were descended from the kings of Norway.

 

The title comes from a phrase describing the childhood of the two earls: Haakon remembers ‘rock pools in the sun, a cage of doves, small flung fists and tears and reconciliation.’

 

The music refers to the Northern light and seascapes which pervade Mackay Brown’s writing. Throughout the piece, fragments of the ancient ‘Hymn to St Magnus’ - unusual and distinctive in its use of thirds - are heard.

 

The ideas of conflict and resolution are expressed in a set of small sea scenes. It is said that a ‘bright, heavenly light’ was seen above Magnus’ grave shortly after his death: this is reflected in the return of the Hymn at the end, overlaid with the calling of doves.

 

The dedication to Max, who has encouraged and inspired me for twenty years, was made after hearing his extraordinary opera The Martyrdom of St Magnus, at St Magnus Cathedral.  

 

A Cage of Doves was commissioned by the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, with funding from Norsk Kulturråd (The Norwegian Cultural Fund), and first performed by the  Stavanger Symphony Orchestra conducted by Eivind Aadland in Stavanger Concert Hall, January 17th, 2008 as part of Stavanger - European Capital of Culture 2008.

 

Sally Beamish 2007

 

 

 

 

Buy/Hire from Edition Peters

 

Available Recordings:

 

 

The Singing

BIS 2015

James Crabb accordion

Håkan Hardenberger trumpet

Branford Marsalis saxophone

RSNO / NYoS

Martyn Brabbins conductor

 

A CD of symphonic works, featuring the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and National Youth Orchestra of Scotland with soloists Branford Marsalis, James Crabb and Håkan Hardenberger, under conductor Maryn Brabbins.

 

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