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  • Eye o da Hurricane for string quartet (2017)
  • Angela Elizabeth Slater (bio)

Eye o da hurricane was written for a collaborative workshop with writers at the St. Magnus Music Festival, Orkney, Scotland, in 2017. The piece takes inspiration from Christian Tait’s poem “Fae da Journal o a Crofter’s Wife.” The piece is notated as a graphic score, which gives expressive room for the performers to extend or shorten sections as they feel appropriate. The piece hangs on a dramatic viola line that expresses the solitude and pain of the Crofter’s Wife, who is surrounded by both a storm on Shetland and the turbulence of World War I. The piece particularly draws on imagery from certain lines within the poem:

Sae here I am ida eye o da hurricanewhile a aathing crashes an roars an birlsaboot me. Destructive an oot o control.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .ta read atween da lines, or hoomy hert vibrates laek fiddle-stringsin tune wi der black despair. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .sood cry my name A’ll hear himsammas he wis in da nixt room. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .But ivvery mennit o ivvery dayI bargain wi da Mellishon, offerin himmy sowl if he’ll bring dem safely hame. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Dis is what its laek, aa bi me lanetrapped ida eye o da hurricane [End Page 153]

Performance Layout

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Performance Notes

1. Page 1, system 2: the first and second violin parts cycle through boxed material, initially in opposite directions. If they so desire, the players should feel free to repeat boxes and allow other boxed material to interrupt the box they are currently playing.

2. Page 1, system 2: the cello has similar boxed material and after initially playing box 1 can then play the other boxes in any order and repeat boxes as many times as they wish.

3. Players enter approximately when their part visually aligns with another.

4. The rhythmic value of stemless noteheads should be interpreted very freely.

5. Lines from the poem appear throughout the score in order to aid expression and mood—they do not need to be spoken.


1. Sul ponticello, molto sul ponticello, and sul tasto are abbreviated to S.P., M.S.P., and S.T., respectively. Normal playing position is reinstated by indication of nat.

2. indicates that the player should gradually move from one technique/position to another.

3. Circular bowing will be indicated by the symbol ; circular bowing indicates a motion of continuously cycling through S.T. to nat. to S.P.

4. Bowing on or very close to the bridge is indicated by the symbol .

5. Harmonic tremolo typically occurs between a harmonic and an open string. These are indicated with the harmonic note in brackets and an ongoing ttr symbol above the note.

6. Timbral or microtonal trills are also indicated with a ttr symbol above the note, but with a quarter sharp or flat indicated in brackets. [End Page 154]

7. indicates that the player should add bow pressure in order to produce a distorted sound in which the sounding pitch is completely replaced by noise and then gradually returns to a bowed tone.

8. A very wide vibrato (beyond molto vib.) is indicated by .

9. Playing behind the bridge is indicated by x noteheads plus written indication.

10. Playing as high as possible is indicated by small arrow-shaped note-heads pointing upward. [End Page 155]

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[End Page 156]

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[End Page 157]

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[End Page 158]

Angela Elizabeth Slater

angela elizabeth slater is a UK-based composer and a passionate advocate for increased representation of women composers. She is the founder of Illuminate Women’s Music and is a board member of IAWM. In her AHRC-funded PhD at the University of Nottingham, Angela explored mapping concepts from the natural world into the fabric of her music. Eye o da hurricane was shortlisted in the British category for ISCM in 2017. The New England Philharmonic also recently named her as its 2018 call-for-scores winner, resulting in the world premiere...


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pp. 153-158
Launched on MUSE
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