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David Hamilton: Millennial ...Embedded audio
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My visit to Ireland in 1994 exposed me to the traditional music, and I came away from vague thoughts of using some of the more rhythmic music in an extended setting. The repetitive nature of much of the music seemed to have a parallel in the 'minimalist' music of the late twentieth century. Millennial Maggie is based on the Irish reel Drowsy Maggie. Just who maggie might have been is uncertain!
This piece continues my interest in basing pieces on pre-existing works. Not strictly variations in the traditional sense, but often 'stretching' the musical material or framing it in a new context. This work begins with a fanfare-like outburst from the orchestra which incorporates fragments of the reel. Eventually the music quietens and a solo violin presents the reel in its entirety accompanied by simple harmonies. The remainder of the work presents the reel several more times, each time at a faster speed, interspersed with short episodes. Most of the material in the piece is derived in some way from the reel or its harmonization. Throughout, the music is unashamedly tonal and rhythmic, and Maggie receives a fairly emphatic wake-up call.
Millennial Maggie was commissioned by Wellington Sinfonia who requested a work with a '...strong celebratory feel with particular reference to the new millennium'. It was commissioned to mark the orchestra's 25th anniversary. Whether or not there are specific millennial associations in the work, it could be that many of us feel as through we are going reeling into the next century!
Commisssioned by Wellington Sinfonia (now Vector Wellington Orchestra) to mark the orchestra's 25th anniversary in 1999
04 Feb 2000: Performed by Wellington Sinfonia (now Vector Wellington Orchestra), conducted by James Sedares at Wellington Town Hall