David Fennessy: The Ground

David Fennessy The Ground
The Ground

David Fennessy: The Ground

Year of composition:
Scored for:
for orchestra
David Fennessy
3 3 3 3 - 4 3 3 1 - timp, perc(3), soundtrack, str (12 12 10 8 6)
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
1st percussion
2nd percussion
3rd percussion
pre-recorded soundtrack
violin I (12), violin II (12), viola (10), violoncello (8), double bass (6)
Commissioned by BBC Radio 3 for performance by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestraand first performed 12 January 2019, conducted by Thomas Dausgaard.
More Less

The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

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)

Special prints

The Ground

David Fennessy: The Ground

full score
for orchestra , 16’
Instr.: 3 3 3 3 - 4 3 3 1 - timp, perc(3), soundtrack, str (12 12 10 8 6)

The Ground

David Fennessy: The Ground

study score
for orchestra , 16’
Instr.: 3 3 3 3 - 4 3 3 1 - timp, perc(3), soundtrack, str (12 12 10 8 6)

World première

Glasgow City Halls, Glasgow (GB)
BBC Scottish SO
Thomas Dausgaard

Other works

Sign up for our newsletter!

You will regularly receive information about new scores with free downloads, current prize games and news about our composers.