Songs from the North was originally commissioned by the Park Lane Group and composed by Edward McGuire for John Wallace on the occasion of his 65th birthday. The piece offers a mesmarising, delicate and playful collection of 5 songs for voice (soprano) and brass – each song adding an additional layer of brass sound, building towards the final movement which combines soprano voice with a full brass quintet.
Songs from the North movements:
- Greenland Sound
- Iceland Bound
- Volcanic Ground
- Birds Abound
- Friends All Around
Edward McGuire writes: “My experiences of sailing as a performer on the intrepid cruises of the National Trust for Scotland led me to the idea of making a journey through songs. So I subtitled Songs from the North with “for John Wallace on embarking on a new musical voyage, from the north sailing south”. The thought of the Waverley Paddle Steamer on its voyage from the Clyde to the Thames was one potent image that inspired the final song for example. I begin with my own memories of a 2006 trip to Greenland, one of the most exciting of my life – then on to Iceland with its newly erupting islets. The songs gradually entangle with John’s own memories – of music -making, of teaching, of travelling the length and breadth of the country – and finally being made welcome by the great goodwill of his many friends and colleagues.”
A recording of this complete work is available on our 2020 album release – The Wallace Collection On Song – performed by Julia Daramy-Williams (soprano) and The Wallace Collection.