Guest Blogger – Composer & Inspiration, Thea Musgrave…at 90!

Evelyn and guests

When inviting inimitable Scottish composer, Thea Musgrave to write a Guest Blog, we did not presume that Thea would necessarily have sufficient time to agree or that she would offer such a glowing tribute to Evelyn’s talent. Below she reflects on this year’s significant concert at Glasgow City Halls, celebrating ‘Thea Musgrave at 90.’ Thank you for your words Thea!

It was an absolutely thrilling experience for me to reconnect with, outstanding percussionist, Evelyn Glennie, who recently performed my Concerto for Oboe and Percussion, “Two’s Company,” in the City Hall, Glasgow on June 15 for the BBC-SSO with oboist Nicholas Daniel, and Jac van Steen conducting.

Although I have heard both Evelyn and Nick (for whom it was written) play this Concerto before, I was struck anew by the performers’ dazzling technique on their instruments, which enable them not only to deliver the notes in a most astoundingly virtuosic way, but also to engage in the dramatic interactions which are the overall framework of the piece.

In fact, Evelyn becomes a thoroughly engaged modern dancer as she literally choreographs every stroke of her challenging part, coordinating immense physical grace with riveting mental focus and intensity seamlessly…In every section of the story of her flirtation with the oboe (oboist!) She embodies flirtatious attraction, frustration, the desire to get his attention at all costs until the final seductive coupling of the two, having traveled the four stations across the stage, each with a different array of instruments, as she pursues her musical mate.

It is so gratifying to me as a composer to have one’s total conception of a piece — musically, virtuosically, emotionally, as well as dramatically — so completely fulfilled by superb performers like Evelyn and Nick.

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