Sally Beamish: Viola Concerto No 2 ‘The Seafarer’ [download]
This is not the full score. This is a typeset piano reduction (36pp) and the solo viola part (15pp) in pdf format for immediate download.
If you require a copy of the full score, or a hard copy of this piano reduction, please get in touch with us.
When I first came across the 9th century Anglo-Saxon poem The Seafarer, I was struck by its vivid imagery and wrote a short piece for solo violin inspired by the text. The poem explores the idea of life’s journey, using the metaphor of a sea voyage.
In 2000 I was asked by the ‘Summer on the Peninsula’ Festival to make a setting of the poem for narrator and piano trio, and in so doing I began to hear more orchestral textures and to want to explore the material further. The Viola Concerto is the third part in my ‘Seafarer’ Trilogy and is in three movements.
The first suggests wave shapes, seabirds, and ideas of conflict and exploration. The second is based on a two-note motif first heard on the bassoon – “The gowk repeats his plaintive geck” – mocking and ironic in character, with a fragile and transient middle section.
The last movement is essentially a set of cadenzas exploring material from the first two movements, set within a gentle string refrain and resolving into a simple hymn-like passage which ends the concerto.
The concerto is dedicated to Tabea Zimmerman, in memory of the conductor David Shallon. It was jointly commissioned by the Swedish and Scottish Chamber Orchestras, and first performed in Scotland in January 2002. (Sally Beamish)