for orchestra (2019)


Commissioned by the BBC

f.p. BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Ilan Volkov (cond.), Tectonics, City Halls, Glasgow, 1 May 2022

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Weligwic (Anglo-Saxon, ‘place of willows’) is a sibling of my string quartet Leafleoht (‘Leaf-light’, 2018), and is similarly concerned with images of light and foliage as well as the theme of our indwelling within the natural world (a theme threaded through the mythology of willows since ancient times). The two pieces share many materials and follow a similar three-section structure, but whereas Leafleoht is concerned with daylight and brightness, Weligwic takes place in a half-light and is overcast and subdued in atmosphere. The first section consists of a series of extremely soft, fleeting aural glimpses; in the long central section, the Grove, the continuous, variegated string texture (a matrix through which each player wanders independently) acts as a field of sounds underlying other, intermittent layers; the third section sees a repeated brightening of the atmosphere, as on a cloudy day when the sun nearly breaks through.