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rotten ware

chamber orchestra (commissioned by Joe Davies and the Ripieno Players)

duration 9 minutes


'rotten ware', in an early 20th century Orcadian dialect, refers to the heaps of foul-smelling seaweed washed up on the beach. The phrase is here from an old man's prayer recorded on South Ronaldsay by Hugh Marwick:

Na, what are wae?
sand, stoor, raithe, an' rotten ware.
Aillie, pu' a wisp oot o the winna,
an' lot th' sun shine in
on us twa red-assie whales.

The musical material is derived from the shapes and rhythms of this poem.

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