• Judith Weir
  • Airs from Another Planet (1986)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Nash Ensemble with funds from the Arts Council

  • 1(pic)1111000pf
  • 12 min

Programme Note

I once read of an idea to establish a human colony on Mars which was at once visionary and practical. In order to acclimatise themselves, potential settlers would at first live together, sealed off from the human race on a remote Scottish island.

This is the music of the Scottish colonisers, several generations later, marooned on a lonely and distant planet; the ancient forms of their national music almost completely lost in translation, with only the smallest vestiges of the national style remaining.

Three traditional melodies are quoted, but as if refracted through space time, far distances and strange atmospheric effects. These are 'The Leys of Luncarty' (heard on the horn in the opening Strathspey); 'Ettrick Banks' (played on the clarinet in the Traditional Air) and 'Miss Margaret Graham of Gartmore's Favourite' (played by everyone in the Jig).

The movements are:

Strathspey and reel
Traditional air
Jig
Bagpipe air with drones

© Judith Weir

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