About the project

Armistice offers an opportunity to reflect on our shared experiences as communities, families, nations and global citizens.

To mark the 1918 centenary, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra with Associate Composer Martin Suckling will engage people throughout Scotland in the composition and performance of a new work exploring themes of celebration, loss, community identity and the legacy of war.

The piece: Meditation

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.

John Donne, Meditation XVII (1624)

Meditation (after Donne) is a new piece of music for chamber orchestra and electronics featuring the bells of Scotland, contributed by the people of Scotland. We want every part of Scotland to be represented in this piece, and we also welcome contributions from the whole UK and beyond. Please record your local bells and submit them to be included in the electronics part.

martin-suckling-(c)-maurice-foxall.jpgMartin Suckling (photo: © Maurice Foxall)

Armistice offers us an opportunity to reflect on the shared experiences that bind us as communities, families, nations and global citizens. Responding to a commission to mark the 1918 centenary, SCO Associate Composer Martin Suckling, working in collaboration with SCO Connect, has sought innovative ways to engage people throughout Scotland in the creation and performance of a new work for orchestra and electronics that explores themes of celebration, loss, community identity and the legacy of war.

The poetic background is provided by John Donne’s famous ‘Meditation XVII’, his 1624 exhortation to recognise our shared humanity which is utterly contemporary in a world where self-interest and insularity threaten to smother alternative discourses. Donne’s reflections are triggered by the tolling of a distant bell, the sound of which will be the focus of our project. Rung out across the country when Armistice was declared, church bells are potent markers of both joy and despair, public sounds with personal resonances, their complex web of associations making them an ideal symbol around which to develop a rich musical experience.

This innovative commission for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra relies on community-sourced recordings of local church bells. People from Scotland and beyond are invited to bring the project to life through a series of SCO Connect activities, and there are many ways to engage:

  • Provide the source material for the electronics part
  • Experience the piece from the ‘inside’ by taking part in a workshop -  perform a version of the commissioned work or create your own versions
  • Hear the SCO perform the World Premiere in St Andrews, Edinburgh and Glasgow in early November 2018

Supported by:

sco-connect-make-music.png The Leverhulme Trust The Scottish Government University of York City of Edinburgh