The Day Dawn is based on an old Shetland fiddle tune of the same name, which was traditionally played at the Winter Solstice to mark the dawn of lengthening days.
Dedicated to my friend Christine McKemmie Jamieson, who was living in Shetland when her young daughter died, the piece recalls the sense of calm she felt on the day of the funeral – dawning bright after a week of rain.
In the original version, commissioned by Contemporary Music Making for Amateurs, its eleven parts may be played by any combination of stringed instruments. At the instigation of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the composer has since made an elaborated version for professional forces, which still, however, stays within the boundaries of the seven «white» notes of the scale.
The work was commissioned by Contemporary Music Making for Amateurs with the generous support of the Arts Councils of England and Scotland.