Commissioned by the Scottish Post Office

  • 2(pic:afl)22(bcl)2/2220/timp/str
  • 9 min

Programme Note

This concert overture is a portrait of the Hoy island postman: a rumbustious, yarn-spinning character, to judge by the music. The sketching is done, though, more with bold virtuosity than comedy, and the atmosphere becomes more that of the still island than of its messenger.

This was written for Ian Barr, Chairman of the Scottish Postal Board, in recognition of his work on behalf of the St Magnus Festival, Orkney. The first performance was given by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by the composer on 22 June 1986 at the Phoenix Cinema, Kirkwall.

This short concert overture is an affectionate portrait of the island postman who has delivered my letters over the years. In its four sections (exposition, transformation, recapitulation, coda) I hope it catches something of the postman’s many-sided ebullient character.

After a stirring climax, the work ends with the crystallisation of the main material into a brief, slow, reflective note.

© Peter Maxwell Davies 1986.