The String Trio was written in February for the Hebrides Ensemble, and is dedicated to the memory of Karen Aim, who had died, in tragic circumstances, in New Zealand.
My starting point was a memory of accompanying, with my group The Fires of London at the 1978 St Magnus Festival, her relative, the late Ronny Aim, the celebrated Orkney folk musician, in traditional Orkney fiddle music.
I have alternated quick music, based on the reel, and slow music, based on the slow air – and, while taking liberties with the rhythmic articulations, and extending the traditional harmonies into regions where they don’t usually venture, I have been careful to preserve what I hope remain audible and meaningful frames of reference.
The Trio is in one continuous movement, with dramatically contrasting sections. It was difficult to make a suitable conclusion: I decided it should end in a spirit of quiet reflection.
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, 2008
This programme note may be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to the composer