The Ring of Brodgar

Mark Barnard
Grade: 3

The Ring of Brodgar, located in the Orkney Islands of Scotland, is an enormous stone circle dating back to the 3rd millennium BC, making it older than Stonehenge and the great pyramids of Egypt. In addition to being an astronomical observatory, the Ring’s 60 stones served as a sacred, magical and mysterious ceremonial site.
The majesty of The Ring of Brodgar is heard in the main theme’s opening statements and its musical evolution from a moderate 4/4 to a moving 6/8. A short reverent choral signifies the wonderment and power standing in and among the stones, which moves to an ominous development, building in harmonic and rhythmic intensity until the music returns to the main theme and a dramatic conclusion.
The string orchestra encounters varied meters and many orchestral bowings, dynamics, and performance techniques which are all very accessible in this epic, cinematic-style orchestration. The optional percussion part is performed by one percussionist alternating on wind chime, snare drum, bass drum, triangle, and suspended cymbal, adding color and rhythmic drive to the ensemble.

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