Wild Mossy Mountains was written by Aberdeen-born Judith Weir in 1982 for Michael Bonaventura for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It is an extraordinary work, using highly original sounds and textures. In outline, it takes the form of an opening toccata with two alternating sounds – a gurgling sound in the deep register, and a light flute. After a short recitative-like section, a fast, though light-textured toccata, heralds a short passage of resonant chords. The recitative returns, reworked, before the piece concludes with a descending pattern of loud and richly scored chords, ending with a massive resolution. The title refers to a quotation from Burns which is written above the last two pages: ‘Yon wild mossy mountains sae lofty and wide….”

Judith Weir was born into a Scottish family but grew up near London. She played with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain as an oboist, and studied composition with John Tavener and at Cambridge University with Robin Holloway. She has written operas which have been performed in the USA, Germany, Austria, Belgium and at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. During the 1990s she was composer in residence for the CBSO, and wrote music which was premiered by Simon Rattle. She has received other commissions from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra and the London Sinfonietta.  She now lives in London where she has had a long association with Spitalfields Music Festival, and in recent years has taught as a visiting professor at Princeton, Harvard and Cardiff universities. Honours for her work include the Critics’ Circle, South Bank Show, Elise L. Stoeger and Ivor Novello awards, a CBE (1995) and the Queen’s Medal for Music (2007). In 2014 she was appointed Master of The Queen’s Music in succession to Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. In January 2015 she became Associate Composer to the BBC Singers.