The Day Dawn is based on an old Shetland fiddle tune of the same name which (as John Purser notes in his book Scotland’s Music) was traditionally played at the Winter solstice to mark the dawn of the lengthening days. Dedicated to a friend who was living in Shetland when she lost her young daughter 15 years ago, the piece symbolises new beginnings, recalling the sense of calm she felt the day of the funeral, dawning bright after a week of rain.
First Performance: CoMA Summer School String Orchestra, Aug 1997, Bretton Hall, West Yorkshire
The piece is thickly scored – it is divided into eleven parts (including double bass) but each can be played on more than one instrument, allowing flexibility in allocating parts. A range of tempi and moods give the piece plenty of variety and, apart from a few moments in the fastest sections, there are no great technical difficulties.
COMA (with funds from the Arts Council of England)