Có a dh’ éireas anns a’ mhadainn
’S a chì ròs geal am bial an latha?
An Òg-Mhadainn (The Young Morning) was commissioned by Youth and Music Yorkshire, at the request of the distinguished clarinettist Alan Hacker. They requested a solo piece for basset clarinet with simple accompanying parts, so that a group of young people might be able to play them without much prior rehearsal; but it is also possible to use a pre-recorded backing tape. The title page of the score quotes a line from A Girl and Old Songs by the Gaelic poet Sorley Maclean – in translation:
Who rises in the morning
and sees a white rose in the mouth of the day?
The piece is a human reflection on the peculiarly clear, bright atmosphere of some early mornings, early in the year. The musical means are simple – a set of variations on a melodic line which also provides its own accompaniment ‘punctuation’, over a background, atmospheric, ostinato ‘carpet’ of sound, around which the clarinet sings, dreams and plays – sometimes with the discipline of Ceol Mor, and at others with the wildness of birds.
from notes by Alan George, Duncan Druce & William Sweeney © 2006