James Dillon's Nine Rivers
Nine Rivers is a cycle of nine works interlinked by a series of ‘tropes’ to create a vast musical environment with an overall duration of around three and a half hours. Dillon began work on the cycle in 1982 and completed it in 1999, and it has since been described as "one of the most significant achievements in British music in the last quarter century".
The world premiere performance of the work as a whole, an ambitious artistic collaboration between Glasgow Life and the BBC, took place in November 2010 in Glasgow, given by the combined forces of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC Singers, Strasbourg Percussion Ensemble, the renowned percussionist and conductor Steven Schick, and the Australian conductor Jessica Cottis.
The work was then awarded the Large-Scale Composition prize by the Royal Philharmonic Society in their annual awards, making James Dillon the most celebrated winner in RPS Music Awards history. In their comments on the work, the judges remarked that “this was an epic conceptual journey, two decades in the making, and an important personal voyage for its composer.”
"The systematic derangement of the senses..." (Rimbaud)
Dillon writes: "For a long time I was fascinated by Rimbaud’s strange poem 'Le Bateau Ivre' with its images of the freed boat crashing through rivers towards the ocean and somehow the memory of this work attached itself to this project..."
Read on for the full synopsis and programme note or find more information about the individual works in Nine Rivers by clicking on the details on the left of this page.
Sound clips / Score samples