Everyone Sang

Helen Grime (1981)

Everyone Sang 2010

3(pic).2(ca).3(bcl).2+cbn/4.3.2+btbn.1/timp.2perc/hp.cel/str(14.12.10.8.6)
Duration 
10
Genre 
Commissioner 
Publisher 

When composing Everyone Sang, I imagined the orchestra as being made up of many voices, capable of producing a unified and joyful melody that could also break off into many individual and varied strands of song. The piece juxtaposes a sense of celebratory joy and, towards the end of the piece, elated unison outbursts, with a sense of melancholy. As the piece was written to commemorate the BBC Scottish Symphony’s 75th birthday, I wanted to celebrate the orchestra’s wonderful and multi-faceted sound as a whole but also focus on individual sections and groupings within it.

The piece opens with a long melody, which passes back and forth from 1st to 2nd violins and is commented on by woodwind flourishes and vibrant touches of percussion and celesta. This melody becomes the source of all other melodies in the piece, whether they are wild and unpredictable or slow moving and distant. Towards the end of the piece, these melodic strands, which have become more and more removed and disparate from their original source, are used in combination and with contrasted temporal identities before again becoming one voice. An exhilarant unison melody for high violins, woodwinds, percussion, harp and celesta is reminiscent of the work’s opening, and returns in outbursts contrasted with a distant, slower moving chorale until the work’s close.

The title of the piece comes after the poem by Siegfried Sassoon, and seemed to resonate with the images of song, unity, hope and a sense of fragility that are all central to my piece.

H.G.

Performances 
2.12.10 City Halls, Glasgow: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra / Martyn Brabbins
26.6.11 Aldeburgh Festival: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra / Oliver Knussen
13.8.12 Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music, USA: TMFO / Oliver Knussen
20.6.14 Concertgebouw, Amsterdam: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra / George Benjamin
24.6.15 Aldeburgh Festival: BBC Symphony Orchestra / Sakari Oramo
3
Flute
3rd doubling piccolo
2
Oboe
2nd doubling cor anglais
3
Clarinet
3rd doubling bass clarinet
3
Bassoon
3rd contrabassoon
4
Horn
3
Trumpet
3
Trombone
3rd bass trombone
1
Tuba
1
Timpani
2
Percussion
14
Violin
12
Violin II
10
Viola
8
Cello
6
Double bass
1
Harp
1
Piano
celesta
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