The Sirocco originates, dry and sandy, over North Africa, picking up moisture on crossing the Mediterranean. It becomes warm and humid, blowing from the southeast bringing rain and fog. One day in Glasgow – May 3rd 1994 – shortly after beginning the piece, I overheard two men remarking that one had discovered his car coated with windblown fine sand. This gave me the idea that the piece should explore musical flavours of the wind’s journey from the Sahara, through Spain, France and England, eventually coming to rest over Scotland. The dry, mysterious origins with an Arabic flavour; a sea passage; Iberian rhythms; a foggy Gallic impressionism; a Breton, then urban and English pastoral flavours; and a bagpipe-like theme brings Scotland onto the horizon before a dance in reel rhythm builds and fades out.
First Performance: CoMA Summer School Wind Ensemble, Aug 1994, Firth Hall, Sheffield
Sirocco is one of several pieces by Eddie McGuire which evoke the character of certain types of winds including Mistral (for Glasgow Wind Band), Zephyr (for trombone/string quartet) and Westwind (for clarinet ensemble). The wind also influences the musical textures: often gradual changes sweep through the orchestra with new harmonies being taken up by each player in turn.
Commissioned by COMA (with funds from the Arts Council of England)