Five of the best works by Thea Musgrave

We choose five unmissable pieces by the great Scottish composer

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Five of the best works by Thea Musgrave
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Clarinet Concerto (1968)

This single-movement concerto is, writes Musgrave, an exploration of a ‘dramatic-abstract’ idea. So think theatrical, but without a story. It was premiered by clarinettist Gervase de Peyer, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Colin Davis.

 

 

Mary, Queen of Scots (1977)

Thea Musgrave’s acclaimed fourth opera explores what happened to Mary Stuart between 1561, when she had returned to Scotland a widow, and 1568, when she sought protection in England. The libretto is based on the play Moray by Amalia Elguera.

 

 

Phoenix Rising (1997)

This vibrant orchestral piece, with a spotlight on timpani and horn, was performed at this year’s BBC Proms to celebrate Musgrave’s 90th. It features her trademark dramatic flair – and a touch of humour too.

 

 

Night Windows (2007)

‘Walking down a darkened street it’s hard to resist looking in through lighted windows and catching a glimpse of other people’s lives…’ Tantalising Edward Hopper-scenes blossom in this chamber piece written for oboist Nicholas Daniel.

 

 

The Voices of our Ancestors (2014)

Drawing inspiration from the Indian Rigveda, this piece for chorus and orchestra uses texts in a host of languages, including Latin, Hebrew and Persian, that explore what it means to be alive.

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