Staffa

(2017)

by Ned Bigham

Description
orchestra with optional film (3 screens)
Duration
11
Genres
Full Orchestra
Instrumentation
3(III=picc).3(III=ca).3(III=bcl).2.cbsn - 4221 - timp - perc(3): SD/cym/tam-t/finger cym/crot/t.bells/glsp - cel- 2 harp - strings
First Performance
27.8.2017, Usher Hall (Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom): BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Martyn Brabbins
Availability

Score and parts for hire

Programme Notes
In  2015  Gerry  Fox  and  I  were  discussing  a  new  collaboration  together,  after  the  success  of  ‘Favela  Descending’,  a  multi-screen  7.1  sound  installation  at  the  Shoreditch  Concrete  and  Glass  festival.  Gerry  suggested  it  would  be  interesting  to  create  a  new  multimedia  piece  inspired  by  Mendelssohn’s  visit  to  Fingal’s  Cave  in  1829.    That  summer  I  travelled  to  the  isle  of  Staffa  in  the  Inner  Hebrides,  where  the  cave  is  located,  and  later  that  year  Gerry  arrived  with  a  film  crew  and  adventurous camerawoman Stefanie Williams,  who  was  prepared  to  send  her  drones  deep inside the cave.  With project funding from Creative Scotland we embarked  upon  a  creative  partnership  where  music  and  image  developed  in  tandem.  
 
The  result  is  Staffa,  a  piece  for  symphony  orchestra  and  three  large  screens  suspended  above  the  orchestra.  The  work  lasts  eleven  minutes,  with  each  screen  depicting  a  different  impression of the island from a flying viewpoint.  It received its world premiere at the 70th Anniversary Celebration Concert of the Edinburgh International Festival in August 2017, with music broadcast on BBC Radio 3.  It was also staged as a multi-screen quadraphonic installation at the National Library of Scotland during the festival. Scored  for  full  orchestra with  two  harps  and  celeste,  the  music  opens  with  strident  brass  and  clashing  cymbals,  travelling  through  darkness  and  dissonance  into  the  serenity  of  the  sunlit  cave  and  finally  resolving  into  a  celebration  of  Staffa’s  natural  cycle.

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