The ancient Irish myth of Emain Macha: A woman with magic powers is challenged to run faster than the King’s horses. If she refuses her boastful husband will die. She is with child. She runs, wins and screams out a curse in dying of sickness to the men of Ulster over five nights and four days in times of battle. She dies giving birth to twins: Emain and Macha. Emain Macha is now Navan Fort, home of the Kings.
First Performance: CoMA Summer School Orchestra, Aug 1996, Bretton Hall, West Yorkshire
The instrumentation specified is the minimum – this piece can accommodate and benefits from doubling of wind and brass parts. The wind players are also required to play stones and tin whistles (whistles available from the composer), and the use of teaspoons by the string players adds to the many interesting effects in this work.
COMA (with funds from the Arts Council of England)