Í (A Meditation on Iona)

James MacMillan (1959)

Í (A Meditation on Iona) 1996

perc(1):t.bells/steel pans/lg thundersheet-strings

This work came about through a collaborative experiment with the sculptress Sue Jane Taylor. It is a pensive and reflective work for strings and percussion lasting about fifteen minutes, and is mostly slow and static. It is built around a few recurrent melodic motives which revolve n a cyclic and episodic structure. Sometimes the material is very simple, like a single tolling metallic sound accompanied by slowly shifting chords, or a fragmented and hesitant solo violin or viola accompanied by patiently evolving clusters and chords. Sometimes, the material is more assertive involving trills, tremolandi and glissandi and low heavy chords with primally simple percussive ideas.

The whole is intended to give an impression of the island of Iona where St. Columba lived, and died in 597. It is a place of stark and desolate beauty, a focus of deep spiritual resonance and historical significance.

James MacMillan

(This programme note can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to the composer)

21/22.2.97 City Halls, Glasgow & Usher Hall, Edinburgh: Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Joseph Swensen
11.10.97 Queen Elizabeth Hall, London: Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Joseph Swensen
4-7.11.97 Scottish tour: Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Joseph Swensen
16-18.11.97 Austria & Bratislava: Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Joseph Swensen
11/14.2.98 US tour: Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Joseph Swensen
17.6.99 RNCM, Manchester: RNCM Orchestra/Michel Brandt
28.6.00 Bantree: Swedish Chamber Orchestra / Hans-Christian Sorensen
1/2.2.01 Danish tour: Danish Philharmonic Orchestra/Iona Brown
21.2.01 BBC Studios, Manchester: BBC Philharmonic / James MacMillan
9.10.02 Oslo, Norway: Norwegian Chamber Orchestra / Terke Tonnesen
15.1.03 Lausanne, Switzerland: Orchestre de la Suisse Romande / Joseph Swenson
9.11.04 Trinity Laban: Trinity College of Music String Ensemble / Nic Pendlebury
21/23.11.04 Glasgow & Edinburgh: The Orchestra of Scottish Opera / Richard Armstrong
11-12.12.04 Los Angeles, USA: Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra / Joseph Swensen
16.1.05 Barbican Hall, London: BBC Symphony Orchestra / James MacMillan
22-27.2.05 Cambridge, Warwick, Liverpool, London: Britten Sinfonia / Pierre-André Valade
23.4.05 Leuven, Belgium: Vlaams Radio Orkest / James MacMillan
15-17.9.05 Minneapolis & St Paul, MN, USA: St Paul Chamber Orchestra / Hugh Wolff
30.9-1.10.05 Indianapolis, USA: Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra
8/10.12.05 St Andrews & Edinburgh: Scottish Chamber Orchestra / Garry Walker
12.2.06 Sage Gateshead: Young Sinfonia / Northern Sinfonia / Scott Stroman
12-14.3.06 Australian tour: Amsterdam Sinfonietta / Candida Thompson
5.4.06 St John's Smith Square, London: London Strings / Richard Llewellyn
15.9.06 Maastricht, Netherlands: Limburgs Symphonie Orkest / Ed Spanjaard
23.11.06 Helsingborg, Sweden: Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra / Joseph Swensen
14.12.07 Brisbane, Australia: Camerata of St John's / Brendan Joyce
2.7.09 LSO St Lukes, London: LSO Chamber Orchestra / James MacMillan
1.10.09 Joensuu, Finland: Joensuu City Orchestra / Yasuo Shinozaki
19-22.11.09 Washington DC, USA: National Symphony Orchestra/ Hugh Wolff
12/13.1.11 Kotka & Kouvola, Finland: Kymi Sinfonietta / Yasuo Shinozaki
4.7.14 Cambo: Scottish Chamber Orchestra / Clemens Schuldt
27.11.14 Blackheath Halls London: Trinity Laban String Ensemble / Nic Pendleburgh
30.1.16 Munich, Germany: Munich Chamber Orchestra/James MacMillan
18.3.16 Munich, Germany: Munich Radio Orchestra/Ulf Schirmer
tubular bells, steel pans, large thundersheet