The combination of the sound of the expressive clarinet and the soprano voice is one which has already offered composers and performers the opportunity to create and explore interesting and attractive repertoire. In a sympathetic acoustic, the two instruments soar and float, producing a unique sound world.
As two Scottish musicians we enjoy performing arrangements of traditional songs in any programme we present, and in 2015, undertook an exciting new project which has become a core element of our performances ever since. We were keen to explore the potential which the treasury of traditional song could offer to create something new and exciting. We were drawn to one song in particular, Turn Ye to Me, the words of which were written by John Wilson, under his pseudonym of Christopher North, in the early nineteenth century. A lilting melody, along with words conjuring up the wildness of the sea and its influence on the lives of both birds and humankind, gave us the kernel of the idea which developed into a collaborative project with two composers and two poets, who put their skills to work to create two suites for us (three pieces in each). Each suite includes music drawn from the melody and text of Turn Ye to Me, and settings of new poetry, especially written for the project, inspired by images in the words of the original song.
We so enjoyed working with four talented people, all of whom took to this project with great enthusiasm. Stuart Murray Mitchell and Rebecca Rowe are two composers whose work we were already familiar with, and we are very grateful to the Scottish Poetry Library for introducing us to Jane McKie and Stewart Sanderson, the poets whose words inspired the resulting music.