Stone Rituals

Nicolson, Alasdair

Sample page


Sample score



10m 00s


Scottish Music Information Centre




Large Ensemble


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About the work

The large part of this work was written on Orkney while I was ‘in residence’ at the St. Magnus Festival in 1994. I was fascinated by all the historic sites (stone circles, burial sites and prehistoric settlements) which surrounded me and this work is a response to them. In particular there was ‘The Ring of Bodgar’ which is one of the best preserved stone circles in Britain which stands on an open, windswept moor with sea all around – a strangely powerful site. The musical material is mostly presented in large slabs of sound with sections of the orchestra moving in rhythmic unison. The feeling is of a processional which rises from the depths and proceeds through easily recognisable events to a plaintive end section where suddenly the texture thins out and almost dissolves in the air.

First Performance: COMA Summer School Orchestra, Aug 1994, Firth Hall, Sheffield


COMA (with funds from the Arts Council of England)