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David Fennessy: Hirta Rounds

  • for 16 strings
  • vl(9), vla(3), vc(3), cb
  • Duration: 12’
  • Instrumentation details:
    double bass(1)
  • Composer: David Fennessy
  • Commission: Kompositionsauftrag des Münchener Kammerorchesters, gefördert durch die Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung

Work introduction

In 2015 the Munich Chamber Orchestra invited me to compose a new concert piece for strings with the stipulation that it be unconducted. This aspect was crucial key in the conception of the entire piece and it led to me to think about how I could write chamber music for sixteen individual players. Splitting the strings into smaller groups opened up the possibility of many different fluctuations in tempo occurring simultaneously and what has resulted is at once some of the most simple yet complex music I have composed thus far.


The title refers to the remote island of Hirta, in the St Kilda archipelago, off the Atlantic coast of Scotland. For centuries a small community thrived there however in 1930 they were finally forced to evacuate. Today, only the shells of their stone houses remain on this otherwise barren rock in the middle of the ocean, and one can almost sense the traces of a once vibrant society.

David Fennessy


The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

World première

Prinzregententheater, München (DE)
Münchener Kammerorchester

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