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
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.