Postcards (previously titled 'Short Stories'): for String Orchestra

Research output: Non-textual formComposition


Originally described as ‘postcards’, these pieces were written for the Scottish Ensemble’s 2012-13 season, with one included in each of their UK tours. Although the musical idea underlying each piece might fit on the back of a postcard, the result is a little more substantial than such a title suggests –hence ‘short story’. They can be performed individually or as a complete set.

I – Chimes at Midnight

A series of bells. From within the resonance, echoes of a dance emerge, and a high violin sings.

II – Mr Jonathan Morton, His Ground

Where the violin leads, the others follow, eventually arriving at rich, gleaming microtonal chords covering all registers. Throughout the whole piece a simple melodic phrase loops over and again.

III – Touch

A toccata of scurrying semiquavers in which the players join, separate, and recombine in ever-changing groupings to create a many-voiced polyphony. The journey repeats – though with each iteration it is squeezed into smaller and smaller spaces, until eventually it is barely there at all.

IV – In Memoriam

Stepping out into what seemed to be the first day of Spring: barely a breeze, and the sunlight warm against my face. A sequence of microtonal harmonies gradually transform into singing cello lines backed by fragments of dance and birdsong.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherFaber Music Ltd.
Media of outputScore
Size17 minutes
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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