Sally’s Beamish’s Merula Perputua premieres at the Proms on Monday 29 August at Cadogan Hall. Commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and the Royal Philharmonic Society, the piece will be performed for the first time by violist Lise Berthaud and pianist David Saudubray.
The piece’s inspiration comes from 2014, when Beamish moved to Glasgow after 20 years in rural Stirlingshire. Having originally worried about being kept awake by the city noise, she was unprepared for the sleepless nights caused by a seemingly grief-ridden blackbird that sang almost constantly outside the window.
Just before Beamish began work on the piece, her beloved friend and mentor, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, passed away. A mutual friend, Mike Merritt, told her that Max had left a pile of manuscript paper at Mike's house in Inverness, where he would often stay on the way to and from his house in Orkney. Mike suggested that Sally write a piece on this paper in Max's honour, and this one was the obvious choice. So Merula Perpetua (the Latin name is also a nod to Max's influence, and translates as 'Perpetual Blackbird') was composed onto his paper.
For more information and to hear Sally Beamish talk about the inspiration for the piece, visit the BBC Proms website
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