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If You See Me, Weep (c.28’)
(World Premiere, commissioned by the SCO)
Romance No 1 (8’)
The Lang Summer Day (7’)
Birds Of Paradise (10’)
The Muir Burns (7’)
Insula Deserta (9’)
And You Will Weep Too (7’)
Distant Light (35’)
Let Us Go (7’)
In the River Elbe, near the German-Czech border, ancient drought markers known as The Hunger Stones serve as both memorials to past hardships and warnings to future generations. Borrowing its name from one such stone inscription, If You See Me, Weep is a newly commissioned work from the award winning composition team of Scottish songwriter, folk-artist and theatre-maker Karine Polwart, and composer and sound designer Pippa Murphy.
It frames a programme rooted in environmental fragility and the breakdown of familiar seasonal cycles, to which Finnish firebrand Pekka Kuusisto brings his passion for experimentation in directing from the violin.
Familiarity is established by Beethoven’s Romance No 1, whilst The Lang Summer Day anchors Polwart and Murphy’s work in the pastoral imagery of Robert Tannahill’s 18th century ballad The Braes o’ Balquhidder.
Swedish composer Andrea Tarrodi took inspiration from the BBC’s Planet Earth series for her 2008 work Birds of Paradise, which conjures “the way they fly and the way they sound and sing”. Its swirling clamour and uncanny mimetic motifs give way to the bristling, arid landscape of Polwart and Murphy’s second sequence The Muir Burns.
Estonian composer Erkki-Sven Tüür’s unsettling Insula Deserta closes the first half on a note of anxiety.
The brooding, bardic despair of And You Will Weep Too is fractured by keening bursts in Polwart and Murphy’s penultimate sequence, drawing directly from text fragments inscribed on The Hunger Stones. Much of Pēteris Vasks’ work is informed by Latvian folklore, history and politics, and reflects on complex, shifting human relationships with the natural world, and the coexistence of loss and hope. Infused with passages of ecstasy and lamentation, Vasks himself describes his string concerto Distant Light as “nostalgia with a touch of tragedy”.
Let Us Go, the final movement of Polwart and Murphy’s If You See Me, Weep, returns to folkloric motifs, radiating outward from the stark isolation of solo voice and violin, through circular iterations, which expand and deepen towards a hymnal close.
Digital editions of the programmes are now available for sale for £2 from https://issuu.com/scomusic These can be purchased and read online or downloaded the morning of the first concert of the week. We will then make these available free of charge the following Monday.
Traditional printed programmes will still be on sale at the venue for £3.
Described as “one-of-a-kind” by Toronto’s The Globe and Mail, Pekka Kuusisto is renowned for his fresh approach to repertoire.
Seven-times winner at The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, including three times for Best Original Song and Folk Singer Of The Year 2018, Karine Polwart is a songwriter, musician, theatre maker, storyteller, and author.
Pippa Murphy is an award-winning composer and sound designer who works with writers, film-makers, musicians and choreographers writing for theatre, dance, film, choirs and orchestras.