Prelude to Macbeth is a work in which I sought to capture some sense of the strangeness, emotional intensity and violence that pervade one of the most famous of Shakespeare’s plays. Appearing throughout the work are recurring passages of rhythmic ambiguity, always differently orchestrated, interspersed with powerful climaxes and two extended lyrical/dramatic passages for strings alone. There are often sharp and dramatic contrasts of texture and dynamics. The work fades into silence at the close, with a final variation of the rhythmically ambiguous section giving way to a layered statement of a motive first introduced by muted trumpet near the beginning of the piece.
Prelude to Macbeth was commissioned by the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra to honour noted Canadian teacher Bob Hinitt.