Reference Entry

Sweeney, William

Francis J. Morris

in Oxford Music Online

Published in print January 2001 |
Published online January 2001 | e-ISBN: 9781561592630 | DOI:

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(b Glasgow, Jan 5, 1950). Scottish composer. He studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (1967–70), and at the RAM (1970–73) with Alan Hacker (clarinet) and Harrison Birtwistle (composition). He worked as a woodwind tutor for a number of years and later taught composition at the University of Glasgow. He won the Aeleph Prize for composition in 1981, and has twice been awarded the McEwan Commission from the University of Glasgow (1981 and 1989).

Sweeney's interest in Scottish traditional music is audibly present throughout his oeuvre. The textures of Salm an Fhearainn (1987), for 18-part a cappella choir, are derived from the heterophonic style of Gaelic psalm-singing, while Nine Days, for clarinet with drone, is cast in the form of a piobaireachd. The melody is varied not only in its ornamentation, as in traditional pibroch, but in its contour; also modified is the instrument's tone-colour, through alternative fingerings. In ...

Reference Entry.  475 words. 

Subjects: Contemporary Music

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