The Murder Sadie Harrison

The Murder cover
Text/libretto by
Psalm 124/The Twa Sisters (Scottish folk)/'There is a Happy Land' by Andrew Young
6 mins

Solos, Duos & Trios Trios Voice, accompanied Voice(s) & 1-3 Instruments

Purchasing options

Score and parts ISMN 57036-755-9 £19.95 Buy now

clarinet/voice, marimba/voice, cello/voice

Programme note

The Murder was commissioned as part of a New Music South West collaborative project inspired by the Royal West of England Academy’s exhibition STRANGE WORLDS: The Vision of Angela Carter. ‘Strange Worlds is a major exhibition that celebrates the life, work and influences of author and journalist Angela Carter, twenty five years after her death. In bringing together art and literature, this exhibition explores the enormous impact that Carter made as one of the most distinctive literary voices of the last 100 years’ (Fiona Robinson RWA).

The work takes Scottish artist Heather Nevay’s extraordinary painting The Murder (2016) as its starting point. Its characters inhabit a world which references dark childhood games and the Salem witch trials within an idyllic bucolic landscape: ‘the disturbing within a veneer of beauty’ (HN). The music attempts to capture something of the painting’s uneasy atmosphere through intertwining and distorting three related musical sources - a 16th century setting of Psalm 124 from the Ainsworth Psalter taken with the Pilgrims to Massachusetts and sung by the earliest settlers in Salem, a traditional Scottish dance tune, 'The Twa Sisters', associated with a murder ballad dating from the same period, and 'There is a Happy Land', a sacred hymn tune by Scottish schoolmaster Andrew Young (played on an offstage 19th century hand cranked music box). The chosen texts reflect the content of Heather’s painting and highlight the juxtaposition of innocence and threat within a religious context.

Harriet Riley (marimba/voice), Andy Keenan (clarinet/voice), Richard Phillips (cello/voice), Royal West of England Academy, 22 January 2017
  • 29 Jan 2017 | 7:00pm |

    St. Michael on the Mount Without, Bristol


    Harriet Riley (marimba/voice), Andy Keenan (clarinet/voice) and Richard Phillips (cello/voice)

  • 22 Jan 2017 | 7:00pm |

    The Strange Worlds Concert (Angela Carter Exhibition)

    Royal West of England Academy of Art, Bristol



    Harriet Riley (marimba/voice), Andy Keenan (clarinet/voice) and Richard Phillips (cello/voice)