The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra has signalled its commitment both to contemporary music and Scottish culture by commissioning two new works by composers inspired by Scotland and Scottish identity. The new works will be premiered on Saturday 9 December at Glasgow City Halls. BBC SSO Chief Conductor Thomas Dausgaard will conduct the world premiere of Eòlas nan Ribheid (The Wisdom of the Reeds) by Scottish composer William Sweeney as well as a new work by Anna Clyne, inspired by the Beltane Fire Festival.
Sweeney’s piece takes the pibroch, a traditional musical form associated with the bagpipes, and adapts it for the BBC SSO’s Principal Clarinet Yann Ghiro. Born in Glasgow and currently Professor of Music at the University of Glasgow, Sweeney is also a clarinettist and has dedicated the piece to the memory of Alan Hacker (1938 – 2012), a former teacher and friend.
Anna Clyne, a former graduate of the University of Edinburgh and a Grammy Award nominee, has taken inspiration for her piece from the Beltane Fire Festival. Beltane is one of four traditional lunar Celtic festivals, known to many by the events which take place on 30 April on Calton Hill in Edinburgh.
These works are the latest in the Scottish Inspirations series of commissions from the BBC, which has yielded six major works so far, all of them taking Scotland or Scottish culture as their inspiration.
These premieres are complemented by John McLeod’s tone poem about a famous preserved Viking ship, and by the Scottish Premiere of Glasgow-born Oliver Knussen’s Third Symphony - barely 15 minutes long, but acclaimed by 'The Guardian' as one of the 50 greatest ever written.
The concert will be recorded for future broadcast on BBC Radio 3.