Six Speechless Songs

Martin Suckling (1981)

Six Speechless Songs 2013

2(both=picc).2.2(I=ebcl., II=bcl.).2(II=cbsn.) - 2.2(I=tpt in D).0.0 - strings
Duration 
15
Publisher 

The title comes from the final couplet of Shakespeare's Sonnet 8: Whose speechless song being many, seeming one, Sings this to thee: 'Thou single wilt prove none.' Shakespeare is here celebrating the family unit, but it could be extended to the many voices of an orchestra. The lines appealed to me as a new father (my daughter was born while I was writing this piece) and allowed me to link this birth-day with the SCO's 40th birthday, for whom the piece was commissioned. Such events demand a celebration, but rather than composing a single movement of great energy and excitement, I decided to write a sequence of short lyrical moments that would allow for a variety of celebratory gestures within a multi-movement piece: 'many, seeming one'. One of the most fascinating aspects of music for me is how it is able to combine simultaneous disparate elements into a coherent whole - the magic of polyphony. Each of these miniatures explores a possible realisation of the many-voiced speechless song that Shakespeare invokes. Four 'songs' are energetic and lively in character: a fanfare unison, a collection of dance fragments, a peal of bells, and a brief melody floating within a flowing river. Two are more reflective: the central movement re-imagines a famous piobaireachd urlar, while the final is a hypnotic berceuse.

MS 2014

Performances 
6.2.14 Usher Hall, Edinburgh: Scottish Chamber Orchestra / Robin Ticciati
7.2.14 City Halls, Glasow: Scottish Chamber Orchestra / Robin Ticciati
22.4.16 Glasgow: Scottish Chamber Orchestra / Oliver Knussen
23.4.16 Edinburgh: Scottish Chamber Orchestra / Oliver Knussen
2
Flute
both doubling piccolo
2
Oboe
2
Clarinet
1st doubling Eb clarinet, 2nd doubling bass clarinet
2
Bassoon
2nd doubling contrabassoon
2
Horn
2
Trumpet
2nd doubling trumpet in D
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