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This piece was commissioned by New Ross Piano Festival 2016 with funds from the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon. The commission brief was to make an artistic response to the sixth panel of the Ros Tapestry, titled The Sheaf of Corn: The Distaff Descent. The right-hand side of the panel depicts the five great granddaughters of the twelfth-century King of Leinster, Dermot McMurrough: Mathilda, Aoife, Sibyl, Joan and Maud. They sit with their parents in a garden, singing and playing music which their father would have taught them. The songs would have been troubadour love songs, first heard by him in the court of Eleanor of Aquitaine at Poitiers in France.

My imagination was captured by the image of this family singing troubadour songs together. French medieval music has inspired a number of my previous pieces. This piece – the fifteenth in the Ros Tapestry Suite project, and the eleventh in my ongoing series of “preludes” for solo piano – is, in many ways, about a kind of searching. (As it happens, the word “search” has its origins in Old French.) What we find at the end is a tiny, half-remembered fragment of a song – a little of the opening of Leu Chansoneta by the medieval troubadour Giraut de Bornelh.

The title, Sheaf, refers both to the title of the sixth panel of the Ros Tapestry, and to the literal meaning of the word: a bundle of objects of the same kind. The body of this piece is an intuitively arranged assemblage of related musical materials, so this title seemed apt.

Garrett Sholdice, Dublin, June 2016

Sub-title: Prelude #11
Instrumentation: solo piano
Duration: circa 6′
Date of composition: 2016
Commissioned by: New Ross Piano Festival with funds provided by Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon
First Performance: Piers Lane, piano; New Ross Piano Festival, Sunday 25 September 2016
Score: Please email to obtain the latest score.