I Give You The End Of A Golden String was commissioned in 2013, by the Royal Philharmonic Society/Britten-Pears Foundation, to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten
and the bicentenary of the foundation of the Royal Philharmonic Society.
The piece was first performed on 8th June 2013 by the Britten Sinfonia conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth.
'My aim when I began this piece was to create a long length of string music out of a single strand of melody.
While experimenting at the beginning, shaping and extending a melody in many possible directions, I came
across William Blake’s lines…
I give you the end of a golden string;
Only wind it into a ball,
It will lead you in at Heaven’s gate,
Built in Jerusalem’s wall
…and this became my working method, winding a single tune around itself so that it gradually formed itself
into a much richer, more complex texture. The process happens three times, producing the equivalent of a
continuous three-movement concerto.
The ‘first movement’ is engendered by two solo violas (the melody at the beginning already entwined with
a slightly alternative version of itself). The ‘slow movement’ (a more extended, more decorated development
of the opening tune) is introduced by a solo cello (soon winding itself into a quartet of celli). The fast ‘finale’,
led by two solo violins, focuses on decorations within the melody, rolling out ribbons of (Britten-like?) thirds.' - Judith Weir
Suggested minimum strings: 18.104.22.168.2 players