That Recent Earth

for solo viola

 

Composition Date: 2003

Duration: 8'

Information:

 

Commissioned by Viola Space, and first performed by Masao Kawasaki at Kioi Hall, Tokyo, in May 2003.

 

Programme Note:

 

 

That Recent Earth

2003

 

Inspired by a 7th Century pre-Islamic Arabic poem, a ritual lament written by a woman for her brother recently buried, this short piece is my own response to the prospect of war.

 

The piece falls into five sections, and begins with three short connected phrases, echoing the start of the poem: “Weep! Weep! Weep!” The second section, played pizzicato, is punctuated by a 3-repeated-note motif “He is dead’: this motif reappears as a refrain throughout the work. Other themes from the poem, for instance “a buzz of hornets about a lance point”, and, at the end, “the sad North whistles with her winds” shape the colours in the piece, as do some patterns and gestures found in Arabic art music.

 

The Recent Earth was commissioned by Viola Space, and first performed by Masao Kawasaki at Kioi Hall, Tokyo, in May 2003.

Sally Beamish

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