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The Day Dawn (for string orchestra)

Composition Date: 1999

Duration: 15'

Orchestration: Strings (min, 6, 4, 4, 4, 2)



First performed by Scottish Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Joseph Swensen in Hong Kong 1999.

Programme Note:

The Day Dawn is based on an old Shetland fiddle tune of the same name, which was traditionally played at the Winter Solstice to mark the dawn of lengthening days. Dedicated to my friend Christine McKemmie, who was living in Shetland when her young daughter Zoe died, the piece symbolizes new beginnings, recalling the sense of calm Chris felt on the day of the funeral, dawning bright after a week of rain.

The work was commissioned in 1997 by Contemporary Music-making for Amateurs. I later made a version for professional performance at the instigation of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and its director Joseph Swensen, which is the version presented here.

Sally Beamish


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