Stuart Murray Mitchell - String Quartet No.2: III. And if at last she spoke

Workshop performance video

The three movements of String Quartet No. 2 utilise texts by Sylvia Plath (Mad Girl’s Love Song), Ted Hughes (Crow’s Theology), and the couple’s daughter, Frieda Hughes (Pandora) as inspiration. Whilst each movement focuses on a single text, a number of aspects influence future movements, for instance two melodic themes found in the second and third movements which represent the parental figures of Sylvia and Ted. The work concludes with Frieda Hughes’ analogy of Pandora’s Box in representing her own relationship with the box containing her parents’ effects. Whilst initially trepidatious, the memories of her parents gradually become a positive force ending with the line “And if at last she spoke, That one thing left is hope."

Composer: Stuart Murray Mitchell

Composer photo
Photo of Stuart Murray Mitchell

Born in Fife, Stuart Murray Mitchell is a composer, tenor, and animateur active in Scotland. Having gained a First Class degree in Music, Stuart completed his Masters degree in Composition at London's Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. He has recently completed his PhD at Edinburgh Napier University with a focus on text and music. ​Stuart specialises in writing for the voice, in particular, for choir. He has been commissioned by a number of ensembles which has resulted in his work being frequently performed in recitals across the country as well as on television and radio. He has a close link with a number of Scottish musicians having worked on projects such as Turning the Elements, and writing works for Fliskmahoy! ​As a tenor, Stuart is frequently in demand as both a choral and solo singer. Recent engagements have included Messiah with Dunedin Consort as well as working closely with The Kellie Consort. He is currently a lay clerk at The Robin Chapel, Edinburgh as well as frequently deputising in a number of churches and cathedrals in Edinburgh. ​Stuart currently conducts the Edinburgh City Singers, Cramond Community Choir, and Stockbridge Colonies Choir. He has a vast amount of experience in leading choirs of all age groups and thoroughly enjoys working with singers of all backgrounds and abilities.