Programme Notes

Andrew McBirnie - The Sun by Day

Article text
Andrew McBirnie (b. 1971) - The Sun by Day (2007)
The Sun by Day was written for Carla Rees in 2007, to celebrate the fifth anniversary of rarescale. Both pieces are based on a Scottish metrical psalm tune, alternately known by the titles Dundee or French, which originated in the Scottish Psalter of 1615. The titles of the work come from the third stanza:

The moon by night thee shall not smite,
nor yet the sun by day.

-Psalm 121 (Scottish Psalter)

I have always been struck by the monumental dignity, solemnity and simplicity of the Scottish Psalter tunes, and this particular one has been a repeated source of inspiration for me over a period of some 15-20 years. I have always found it to be extraordinarily beautiful, with its measured, graduated rise and fall, and the flattened 7th which appears, tellingly and shockingly, in the bass towards the end of the first line.

The Sun by Day was premiered by rarescale on 13 September 2008 at Shoreditch Church in London

Duration: 6 mins approx

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