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In Beamish’s own words the symphony represents ‘a celebration of the beauty of Scotland, and the inspiration, both musical and visual, which I have found here.’ The piece combines elements of the traditional music of the Scottish bagpipe with an instrumental ‘setting’ of Psalm 104, praising the majesty of creation. Beamish was commissioned to write a concerto for the violinist Anthony Marwood, and from him received a copy of the novel All Quiet on the Western Front. The three movements of the concerto can be traced to three particular passages in the book, and are influenced by the composer’s ‘deep-rooted sense of the futility and tragedy of war’. The flute concerto is performed by the soloist it was composed for, Sharon Bezaly. This is the sixth disc on BIS dedicated to the music of Sally Beamish, music which in reviews of previous recordings has been described as and ‘striking compositions [which] combine lyricism and drama with clarity of form’ (in Gramophone).
Sally Beamish: Violin Concerto
II. quarter note = 60
Sally Beamish: Callisto
I. Callisto and Diana
II. Callisto and Juno
III. Callisto and Arcas
Sally Beamish: Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 1
Awards Issue 2010
“...the First Symphony leaves the strongest impression here...It makes no mean impression in this performance, Martyn Brabbins drawing a committed response from the Royal Scottish National players, who are hardly less attentive in the concertos.”
19th September 2010
“The fine three-movement violin concerto is fiercely projected by Anthony Marwood; and the flute concerto, a modern piece of “programme music”, tracking the myth of the title and inspired by Ted Hughes reading one of his Ovid translations, nicely exploits a quartet of solo instruments.”
16th September 2010
“Both Sally Beamish's concertos here...have literary backgrounds, and her music seems to be at its most potent and vivid when it takes on a descriptive or extra-musical dimension. The three movements of the Violin Concerto relate directly to three passages in a most unlikely source...yet paradoxically the music does not rely on any knowledge of that source for its powerful effect”
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