Commissioned by Karina McIntosh in memory of her husband, Angus McIntosh

  • pf/
  • mezzo soprano
  • 21 min
  • Norman MacCaig
  • English

Programme Note

Norman MacCaig’s short collection “Poems for Angus” constitutes a kind of diary of loss and recovery: the loss of a loved one – indeed a fulcrum – and the emotional states that follow it; the recovery of the self as a newly separate entity, of memories both good and ill, and ultimately of a sense of perspective on life and death. Throughout, the idea prevails that the departed live on in the form of memories and the impressions they created in the lives of others.

I have selected poems from the collection with the aim of including a variety of its moods and perspectives. Some of the settings are quite simple and seek only to amplify or resonate the power of the text; others, such as “Praise of a Man” and “Highland Funeral” aim to illustrate the situations and character which I imagine behind the text. Not all the poems are set in full, and several have a substantial instrumental postscript after the voice has stopped; perhaps impressions of the “lost manuscript” referred to in the poem “Defeat”.

Poems for Angus is dedicated to Karina McIntosh, who commissioned the piece in memory of her husband Angus.

© Stuart MacRae 2010


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