bet maryam (2011)

For solo guitar

Written for: Callum Dewar

Programme Note:

bet maryam is a rock-hewn church, the smallest of eleven such churches situated on the Lalibela World Heritage site in Ethiopia.

The piece alternates two perspectives on a cyclic melodic line, which I label as a ‘cantus’ in my musical sketches. The first perspective presents the cantus as two part counterpoint (where it is accompanied by itself), whilst the second compresses the cantus into a series of four (strummed) chords. The alternating perspectives are separated by instances of monodic material that scrambles the cyclic nature of the cantus. Throughout the piece, both perspectives are presented in a variety of levels of focus, sometimes they are clearly stated and sometimes blurred or disrupted, often by the physical nature of the guitar itself.

bet maryam forms part of a projected cycle of works, entitled the churches of lalibela and is dedicated to guitarist Callum Dewar (with whom the piece was developed in collaboration).


Approximately 5 minutes

Score Excerpt:


Diego Castro Magas, guitar. hcmf//shorts 2014. St Pauls hall, Huddersfield. November, 2014.

Tom McKinney, guitar. Carole Nash Recital Room, Royal Northern College of Music. 30 October, 2013.


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