William Sweeney (b 1950)
200 PIECES mar rós a chaill... (world premiere)
Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
String Quartet No 14 in D minor, D 810, 'Death and the Maiden'
Andante con moto
Scherzo. Allegro molto
Bridget O'Donnell and David López violin
Julia Doukakis viola
Benjamin Michaels cello
Born in Glasgow, William Sweeney studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and at the Royal Academy of Music with Alan Hacker and Harrison Birtwistle. He worked as a woodwind tutor for a number of years and later taught composition at the University of Glasgow. He won the Aeleph Prize for composition in 1981, and was awarded the McEwan Commission from the University of Glasgow in 1981 and 1989.
Sweeney's interest in Scottish traditional music is audibly present throughout his oeuvre. The textures of Salm an Fhearainn (1987), for 18-part a cappella choir, are derived from the heterophonic style of Gaelic psalm-singing, while Nine Days, for clarinet with drone, is cast in the form of a piobaireachd. The melody is varied not only in its ornamentation, as in traditional pibroch, but in its contour; also modified is the instrument's tone-colour, through alternative fingerings. An rathad ùr (1989), for tenor saxophone and orchestra, is concerned with reconciling art music with jazz, and blurring the distinction between improvised (or more freely structured) and precisely notated music. In the rhythmic language of such works as Maqam (1984) and The Heights of Macchu Picchu (1988), exploring ostinato and other techniques of varied repetition, Sweeney has been influenced by ancient Greek poetry as well as by Indian and Arab traditions.