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This Silence

for eight players
clarinet, horn, bassoon and string quintet
Edition: Performance material

Product Details


This Silence was written between July and August 1992 (revised June 1993) and is scored for clarinet, horn, bassoon and string quintet. lt was commissioned by the Cologne Philharmonie for the Scharoun Ensemble. lt lasts around fifteen minutes and is dedicated to my great friends Sandy and Jimmy Brown.

The work is in two contrasting movements. The first (Dance) starts slowly and builds into a manic fast movement featuring the horn. The initial impetus for the music came from a poem entitled ‘Death of a Son‘ by Jon Silkin, which includes the line ‘But this was silence‘ from which I took the title.

The second movement (Dirge) starts with a non-vocal setting of the opening stanza ofthe poem ‘The Exequy‘ by Henry King and proceeds to weave meditative variations around a simple melodic fragment. After a short autburst towards the end (harking back to the manic music of the first movement) the work dies away to a peaceful conclusion.

I am very grateful to the Sharoun Ensemble for playing through This Silence in June 1992, after which I revised the score extensively, and to Brett Dean, who conducted the run-through and gave me great help and encouragement. The Scharoun Ensemble gave the first performance at the Cologne Philharmonie on 12 September 1993.

- Mark-Anthony Turnage


I Dance
II Dirge

More Information

This Silence
for eight players
Performance material
Schott Music Ltd., London
Year of composition:
1992 - 1993
15 ′
World Premiere:
September 13, 1993 · Köln (D)
Scharoun Ensemble

Commissioned work :
Commissioned by Philharmonic Hall Cologne for the Scharoun Ensemble

Technical Details

Product number:
LSL 4104-01


Set Ascending Direction
  • This Silence
    Orchestra: Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
    September 12, 2021 | Birmingham (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) , CBSO Centre
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    Orchestra: Regina Symphony Orchestra Chamber Players
    September 21, 2019 | Regina Central,SK (United States of America) , Government House
  • This Silence
    Conductor: Patrick Bailey
    February 2, 2017 | Cambridge (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) , West Road Concert Hall
  • This Silence
    Conductor: Miranda Francis
    Orchestra: RCM Junior Department Octet
    March 19, 2016 | London (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) , RCM Concert Hall
  • This Silence
    February 13, 2016 | London (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) , Wigmore Hall
  • Set Ascending Direction


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