Oboe part from Sosban Fach for Wind Quintet

Traditional Welsh melody, arr. Martin Watson
2 minutes
Classical music

Programme Note: This arrangement of Sosban Fach was written as my contribution to a project set up by the Central Composer’s Alliance, with each composer in the group writing a variation. When I read Sosban Fach, I thought that the Welsh folk-writer excellently presents the credible difficulties of juggling domestic life in an initially light-hearted way: a mother can’t cope because her servant is ill. The baby cries, the mother cuts her finger, and consequently the daft unwatched saucepans repeatedly boil over. Meanwhile the cat scratches another child. As the song moves on it takes on a deeper meaning as regrets about time passing are revealed: the baby grows up, the mother older, and the sick servant dies. The children playing at soldiers become adult soldiers marching off to war; and puss is no more. Using the song’s melody as the basis, I converted the images from the text into sympathetic sonorities. These were then woven into the music to create a sensitive sound-picture. My arrangement therefore opens observing the excitement of the domestic scene as the mother dashes about solving one problem after another. The music then moves on to reflections on the past. The last two bars of the folk-melody are extended into a coda, expressing the mother’s concerns for the present, uncertainties of, and hopes for the future.

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