Stone, Salt and Sky

For violin and cello


Composition date: 2021

 

Information: Stone, Salt and Sky was commissioned by Chamber Music Scotland for Gaia, and first performed on 20th May 2021 as part of the St Magnus online festival, by Gaia: Katrina Lee and Alice Allen.


Programme note:


STONE, SALT AND SKY


Sally Beamish

2021


for violin and cello

duration c15’


1. Processional

2. Horizon

3. Harbour Blues


When Gaia asked me to write a duo for them, we discussed what kind of piece it might be. They were keen on a contemporary take on Scottish traditional music, and also mentioned that the premiere was planned to be at the St Magnus Festival in Orkney. This led me to think about the distinctive landscape of Orkney, which I have grown to love deeply over the years, and also Orkney’s long history – with a legacy of ancient stones and settlements, and a strong link with Norway, and with the sea.


I have reflected the colours and open spaces of Orkney, and its music, as well as referencing other musical genres, for instance bluegrass and blues.


The first movement opens with stamping feet, and a ‘trumpet’ call. The music suggests outdoor processions and ceremonies throughout Orkney’s history.


The second movement is inspired by Orkney’s wide horizons, and also by Norwegian Hardanger fiddle playing.


The last movement is a blues-infused rhythmic dance – maybe even a sea shanty - using chopping techniques, harmonics and pizzicato.

Stone, Salt and Sky was commissioned by Chamber Music Scotland for Gaia, and first performed on 20th May 2021 as part of the St Magnus online festival, by Gaia: Katrina Lee and Alice Allen.


Sally Beamish 2021




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