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Judith Weir

Publisher: Chester Music

Music for 247 Strings (1981)
commissioned with funds from the Greater London Arts Association
Novello & Co Ltd
Small Ensemble (2-6 players)
Sub Category
Piano + 1 Instrument
Year Composed
10 Minutes
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Programme Note
Judith Weir Music for 247 Strings (1981)
Music for 247 Strings was written in 1981, in response to a request from a British violin-piano duo, Paul Barritt and William Howard. They wanted a piece that would feature genuine duo playing, rather than violin solo plus piano accompaniment. I began to imagine these two instruments combined into one big machine which had the 4 strings of the violin added to the 243 strings of the grand piano I was then working on (I have since learned that different pianos have a variable number of strings inside them).

The music consists of 10 very tiny pieces played as a progression, without any breaks between them. The first few pieces are played in complete - and perhaps rather restricting - rhythmic unison. Then, in the central pieces, the instruments seem to seek some independence from each other. By the end, the violin and piano have joined together again, perhaps in a more genuine spirit of togetherness than they started out with.

© Judith Weir

  • Ensemble
    Schubert Ensemble
    William Howard, Susan Tomes, Petra
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