Chaconne

For solo organ

Composition Date: 2015

Duration: 7'

Information:

 

Commissioned by Southbank Centre. First performance by David Titterington at Royal Festival Hall, London, on 8 February 2016

 

Programme Note:

 

Chaconne

 

for David Titterington

 

 

This Chaconne takes as its starting point a song by Robert Burns: The Slave’s Lament. In 2014 I was asked by the Scottish artist Graham Fagan to make a string arrangement of this tune as part of his installation in the Venice Biennale, which explored themes of displacement and longing. It was sung by the reggae artist Ghetto Priest, who brought a poignancy to it which I found intensely moving.

 

In this Chaconne for organ, each section is a variation on the tune, referring either to the melody, the harmony, or the bass line.

 

The piece is firmly rooted in E minor, but a recurring chromatic figure constantly threatens to undermine this, like a knife twisting. The melody of the original lament is fragmented and dispersed so that only the merest shavings are heard.

 

The piece is dedicated to David Titterington, who helped me discover the clarity and range of colour offered by the outstanding instrument in the Royal Festival Hall.   

 

Chaconne was commissioned by the Southbank Centre and first performed by David Titterington in the Royal Festival Hall in February 2016.

 

 The Slave’s Lament

 

It was in sweet Senegal that my foes did me enthral,

For the lands of Virginia,-ginia, O:

Torn from that lovely shore, and must never see it more;

And alas! I am weary, weary O:

Torn from that lovely shore, and must never see it more;

And alas! I am weary, weary O.

 

All on that charming coast is no bitter snow and frost,

Like the lands of Virginia,-ginia, O:

There streams for ever flow, and there flowers for ever blow,

And alas! I am weary, weary O:

There streams for ever flow, and there flowers for ever blow,

And alas! I am weary, weary O:

 

The burden I must bear, while the cruel scourge I fear,

In the lands of Virginia,-ginia, O;

And I think on friends most dear, with the bitter, bitter tear,

And alas! I am weary, weary O:

And I think on friends most dear, with the bitter, bitter tear,

And alas! I am weary, weary O.

Robert Burns

Buy/Hire from Edition Peters

 

 

Available Recordings:

 

 

Please reload

Search By Tags
Please reload

Follow on Social Media
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Twitter - White Circle
  • YouTube - White Circle
  • w-facebook
  • Twitter Clean
  • White YouTube Icon