Posted on 7 November 2018
Responding to the SCO commission to mark the 1918 Armistice centenary, SCO's Associate Composer Martin Suckling, also a senior lecturer in the department, sought innovative ways to engage people throughout Scotland in the creation and performance of his new work for orchestra and electronics that explores themes of celebration, loss, community identity and the legacy of war.
In collaboration with the SCO, Martin invited members of the public to capture and contribute recordings of their local church bell sounds. More than 100 contributions were received from across the country, with bell sounds from Orkney to Galloway providing the source material for the electronics part.
A central idea of the project was to allow communities to take ownership of the new piece and remake it in their own ways. In recent weeks a series of interactive workshops led by Martin alongside renowned animateur Paul Griffiths saw over 300 primary and secondary school students explore the themes and musical materials in Martin’s commission and to create their own versions of the piece using bell sounds, digital and acoustic instruments, and voices. Martin's intention was to write a piece that was within the reach of amateur performers, and the Helensburgh Orchestral Society will be presenting the first non-professional performance of Meditation (after Donne) on 1 December 2018.