The Gift

Composition Date: 2004

Duration: 9'

Instrumentation: Fl, Mba, Lever Hp, Vc, Voice

Information:

 

Written for a short animated film, The Gift, by Jessica Langford, in 2005.  The film was commissioned by Channel Four Television in association with Scottish Screen, and was selected for over forty international film festivals including Edinburgh, Berlin, Palm Springs, Zagreb and Hiroshima.   

 

The concert version was made for the Ryedale Festival in 2017, and was commissioned to celebrate festival supporter Geoff Walker's 70th birthday.

 

Programme Note:

 

 

THE GIFT 

for flute, marimba, lever harp and cello, with voice

 

I composed a score for a short animated film, The Gift, by Jessica Langford, in 2005.  The film was commissioned by Channel Four Television in association with Scottish Screen, and was selected for over forty international film festivals including Edinburgh, Berlin, Palm Springs, Zagreb and Hiroshima.   

 

The concert version was made for the Ryedale Festival in 2017, and was commissioned to celebrate festival supporter Geoff Walker's 70th birthday.

 

The music is based on a Gaelic folksong, Pi-li-li-liu, which is a lullaby mimicing the call of the redshank. This bird lives on the shore between land and sea, and represents in Scottish myth the transition between life and death.

 

The film lasts for 9 minutes, and is made entirely of sand.

 

Jessica Langford writes: The Gift was inspired by a Japanese legend I heard from the children at Hiroshima Animation Workshop. The film is animated in sand on a light box. The sensitive and subtle qualities of the sand allowed me to animate transformations, perspectives, scene changes and camera angles directly under the camera, so scenes flow into each other giving a sense of fragile transience.

 

Synopsis: A young girl rescues a seal and meets a sea prince in his underwater palace. When she decides to return to her family, the lonely prince gives her a beautiful mysterious shell. Back home, she discovers that she has been away for many years. The house is in ruins and her family gone. In desperation she opens the shell. A transformation ensues: she ages rapidly - but at the apparent moment of death her body metamorphoses into that of a seal, who disappears into the waves.

Sally Beamish 2017

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