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About this Piece

This ethereal setting of Robert Burns’ familiar poem was commissioned by Philharmonia from Caroline Shaw for these performances. The wistful opening lines are intoned in free rhythm over a pizzicato bass. A rhythmically pliant E-minor triad is then outlined by the strings as the folk-like vocal melody leisurely unfolds. The entrance of the oboe in the second stanza is accompanied by an undulating repeated ostinato, later taken up by the harpsichord. A brief interlude breaks out of the hypnotic key before the final stanza trails off into an ethereal harmony sustained by the humming voices of the orchestra.