Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Johnson, Tim. “Out of Belfast and Belgrade: The Recent Music of Ian Wilson.” Tempo 57 (April 2003): 2-9.

Ian Wilson is an Irish-born modern composer whose works often reflect the violent conflict and its devastating effects that Wilson experienced while living in Belfast and Belgrade. One such work, Messenger, was written in Belgrade during the NATO campaign of the 1990s. The second movement of Messenger is almost unique in Wilson’s output, as it is one of only three works acknowledged by the composer to contain musical borrowings. This movement contains an allusion to Brahms’s Lullaby, Op. 49, No. 4; this musical borrowing is unique in Wilson’s work because it is a recognizable musical motif that is used to suggest something quite specific. This allusion to Brahms’s Lullaby is recapitulated in the middle of the fourth movement, another rarity for Wilson. In the second movement the allusion appears in a sparse texture and repeats the Lullaby’s opening minor third quite often. In the fourth movement the allusion is shorter (only three measures), and the often repeated minor third is transposed down a half-step from the second movement. Other recent works by Wilson do not contain allusions to outside musical sources, but do contain some elements of self-quotation. For example, a concerto for piano and strings, titled an angel serves a small breakfast, returns to a technique he first used in his 1998 concerto for piano and strings, Limena. The piano parts of these two works share much melodic material, and the parts of both accompaniments comprise reworked melodic material from the motives of the piano part. an angel serves a small breakfast also contains brass chorales in a style that is highly reminiscent of Messiaen.

Works: Ian Wilson: Messenger (3-4), an angel serves a small breakfast (5-6).

Sources: Brahms: Lullaby, Op. 49, No. 4 (3-4); Ian Wilson: Limena (5-6).

Index Classifications: 1900s

Contributed by: Chelsea Hamm

Except where otherwise noted, this website is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
Creative Commons Attribution License