David Fennessy: The Ground

  • for orchestra
  • 3 3 3 3 - 4 3 3 1 - timp, perc(3), soundtrack, str (12 12 10 8 6)
  • Duration: 16’
  • Instrumentation details:
    1st flute
    2nd flute
    3rd flute (+picc)
    1st oboe
    2nd oboe
    3rd oboe (+c.a)
    1st clarinet in Bb
    2nd clarinet in Bb
    3rd clarinet in Bb (+bass cl(Bb))
    1st bassoon
    2nd bassoon
    3rd bassoon (+cbsn)
    1st horn in F
    2nd horn in F
    3rd horn in F
    4th horn in F
    1st trumpet in C
    2nd trumpet in C
    3rd trumpet in C
    1st trombone
    2nd trombone
    3rd trombone
    tuba
    timpani
    1st percussion
    2nd percussion
    3rd percussion
    pre-recorded soundtrack
    violin I (12), violin II (12), viola (10), violoncello (8), double bass (6)
  • Composer: David Fennessy
  • Commission: Commissioned by BBC Radio 3 for performance by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestraand first performed 12 January 2019, conducted by Thomas Dausgaard.

Work introduction

I began work on The Ground in the spring/summer of 2017, around the time when we were expecting the arrival of our second daughter. During a visit to the antenatal clinic I heard her heartbeats for the first time - incredibly fast and almost violent in their energy. Those heartbeats with all their potential as yet unleashed, drive the first half of this piece.

 

The voice that you can hear at the start and end is that of Robert Urquhart Brown (1906 - 1972), a renowned piper and piobaireachd player as well as an exponent of canntaireachd singing, the oral tradition of teaching the Ceol Mór (Big Music), as it is known. The recording was made towards the end of his days, and it is imbued with a rich sense of retrospective satisfaction at a life well lived.
 

The music of The Ground is essentially a mensural canon; the same tune at different speeds heard across a plethora of different voices.

 

(Dave Fennessy)

The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

World première

Location:
Glasgow City Halls, Glasgow (GB)
Date:
12.01.2019
Orchestra:
BBC Scottish SO
Conductor:
Thomas Dausgaard

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