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Sowetan Spring

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James MacMillan

James MacMillan

General Info

Year: 1991
Duration: c. 12:00
Difficulty: VII (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes
Cost: Score & Parts - $95.00   |   Score Only - $5.95


Full Score
Flute I-II-III (III doubles piccolo)
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
Eb Clarinet
Bb Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
Eb Alto Clarinet
Bb Bass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone I-II
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Trumpet (in Bb) I-II-III-IV-V-VI
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Tuba I-II
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Congas
  • Cymbals (crash and suspended)
  • Gong (Tam-tam)
  • Snare Drum
  • Timbales
  • Tom-toms
  • Wind Chimes (metal)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Sowetan Spring was written to commemorate the release from prison of Nelson Mandela in February 1990 and uses fragments of the South African people’s national anthem Nkosi Sikelel’ I Afrika.

I have for many years been fascinated by the music of the Dutch composer Louis Andriessen and especially by his handling of antiphonal hocketing effects. [A "hocket" is defined as "a spasmodic or interrupted effect in medieval and contemporary music, produced by dividing a melody between two parts, notes in one part coinciding with rests in the other."] So much so that I have been tempted into writing a hocket of my own on a number of occasions. A hocket opens this work, Sowetan Spring, but the antiphonal separation is not a spatial one but based on timbral differences. Another difference is that this hocket is not the basis of a static minimalist process but develops through interaction with other materials into a more dramatic scenario.

This is a special BASBWE (British Association of Symphonic Bands and Wind Ensembles) commission, to mark Glasgow’s designation as The Cultural Capital of Europe in 1990, with funds provided by BASBWE (Scotland).

- Program Note by composer

Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.

Audio Links

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Additional Works for Winds by this Composer

None discovered thus far.

Additional Resources

  • Hocket, Wikipedia
  • MacMillan, J. (1991,2002). Sowetan Spring [score]. Boosey & Hawkes: [United States]