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Judith Weir

Publisher: Chester Music

I give you the end of a golden string (2013)
Chester Music Ltd
Sub Category
String Orchestra
Year Composed
16 Minutes

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Programme Note
Judith Weir I give you the end of a golden string (2013)
I give you the end of a golden string for string orchestra (2011-13)
Judith Weir

My aim when I began this piece was to create a long length of string music out of a single strand of melody. While experimenting at the beginning, shaping and extending a melody in many possible directions, I came across William Blake’s lines….

I give you the end of a golden string;
Only wind it into a ball,
It will lead you in at Heaven’s gate,
Built in Jerusalems’s wall

…and this became my working method, winding a single tune around itself so that it gradually formed itself into a much richer, more complex texture. The process happens three times, producing the equivalent of a continuous three movement concerto.

The ‘first movement’ is engendered by two solo violas (the melody at the beginning already entwined with a slightly alternative version of itself). The ‘slow movement’ (a more extended, more decorated development of the opening tune) is introduced by a solo cello (soon winding itself into a quartet of celli). The fast ‘finale’, led by two solo violins, focuses on decorations within the melody, rolling out ribbons of (Britten-like?) thirds. The duration of the whole piece is around sixteen minutes.

I give you the end of a golden string was commissioned by the Britten-Pears Foundation and the Royal Philharmonic Society.

Judith Weir

I give you the end of a golden string - Judith Weir from Royal Philharmonic Society on Vimeo.

Score Preview

New was Judith Weir's I Give You the End of a Golden String, its title referencing William Blake and its trajectory based on the notion of extending a single strand of melody in various directions and creating textural enrichment from its relative simplicity; as always with Weir, the score's directness of expression and technical skill matched neatly.
George Hall, The Guardian,26/11/2013
Weir's complex weavings of her initial thematic thread balanced the work's dancing, sometimes wistful, lilt.
Rian Evans, The Guardian,10/06/2013
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