SALLY BEAMISH (b.1956): Viola Concerto No. 2 "The Seafarer", Whitescape, Sangsters.
Catalogue Number: 01J092
Description: Beamish's concerto is based on the 9th-century Anglo-Saxon poem 'The Seafarer', which uses the metaphor of a sea journey for life's cycle. The poem's vivid imagery (some extracts are included in the booklet, in the translation by Charles Harrison Wallace that inspired the composer) leads to some vivid imagery in the music, with the sounds of seabirds, and flowing textures suggesting waves; an ironic and conflict-filled second movement, and a finale which brings earlier material together in a series of cadenzas for the soloist before resolving into a kind of hymn. Whitescape was a sort of study for Beamish's opera about Mary Shelley, and specifically her novel 'Frankenstein'; the themes of abandonment and alienation are presented metaphorically through an evocation of a vast, sinister, chilly landscape, with strange moans and heartbeats conjured through the restrained use of extended instrumental techniques. Sangsters, after a Scots poem by Betty McKellar, incorporates evocations of bagpipe music and notated birdsong, and vividly evokes the Scottish landscape in its various moods. Tabea Zimmermann (viola), Swedish Chamber Orchestra; Ola Rudner.