Amble Skuse – Chapels with Splendid Glass Windows

This is a mesmerising piece of music. Written for small string ensemble, but the subtle use of electronic reverb and delay helps bring a power and majesty to the work. I found myself tapping into both the websites listed below for this piece. The first to hear the soundtrack and the second to follow on a full score. 

Sometimes you just want to simply hear the sounds themselves free from any sources of contextual support, but in this case, I was intrigued enough to want to go ‘under the bonnet’.  Even for those of us who are not fluent score readers, we can still learn much from following the notation as the music plays. 

The detailed performance techniques, provided by Skuse for the players, shows us a composer who really understands the potential these instruments have for creating such a wide variety of colours. The ways in which she provides the space, light and air (suggesting sunlight through stained glass?) by having just pairs of instruments playing for most of the time … and then brings out the full majesty of this spiritual encounter by employing the full forces towards the end. 

Yet the most interesting passage has been saved for the conclusion, when short samples of medieval Welsh poetry are triggered and woven in – evoking a strong sense of time and place.

It’s really heartening to hear so many of our best contemporary composers exploring such interesting ways of working with sounds and ideas. Music as good as this deserves a wider audience. Help to make this happen by clicking on the links below:

[On the link, press the play button to the left of the title]

Click HERE for full score.

One thought on “Amble Skuse – Chapels with Splendid Glass Windows”

  1. Thanks for posting this piece. Really enjoyed it. Good string writing, subtle and effective electronics and the dramatic late arrival of the voice was very effective. A strong and distinctive piece.

    Liked by 1 person

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