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A Scottish Perspective
John Maxwell GEDDES (b. 1941)
Soundposts (1995) [14:46]
Rory BOYLE (b. 1951)
Auld Nick’s Dance Tunes Volume 6 (2008)a [12:37]
Edward McGUIRE (b. 1948)
Air and Slip Jig (1997) [11:19]
Edward HARPER (1941 - 2009)
Album Leaf (2008)a [7:25]
Buxton ORR (1924 - 1997)
A Celtic Suite (1968) [11:40]
Yvonne Paterson (flute)a; NYOS Strings/Julian Clayton
rec. Strathclyde Suite, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, 12-13 July 2008
NYOS 009 [57:46]
Experience Classicsonline


“A Scottish Perspective” is an apt title for a disc entirely devoted to music by Scottish composers from different generations and musical horizons.

Geddes’ Soundposts is a suite in three movements obliquely inspired by 18th century Scotland. The first movement St Andrews Entry is imbued with gentle parody of some earlier music a bit à la Warlock. “The Hoolet” (“The Owl”) was how the local people christened the night boat carrying mail on the Forth and Clyde Canal in the late eighteenth century. This movement is a Nocturne of some sort with some eerie surreal undertones. In the third movement “Claverhouse Post” an eighteenth century mail coach “rattles out of Dundee” on a jaunty tune.

Originally written for flute and harp Rory Boyle’s Auld Nick’s Dance Tunes Volume 6 was later scored for flute and string orchestra. It is a suite of four dances - hornpipe, jig, strathspey and reel - suggested by a passage from Robert Burns’ Tom O’Shanter. Though superbly written the four dances are not without irony. Neither is the title of the piece since the composer admits that he has yet to write the first five volumes “at least, not when sober”.

McGuire’s Air and Slip Jig was inspired by a trip to his mother’s ancestral area of Donegal. The beautifully nostalgic Air depicts “The Thatched House at Croagh” - the old family cottage - whereas the lively Jig recalls “The Old Ruined Dance Hall” that his grandfather had built before World War I. The music of this lovely work possesses a quite appropriate Irish character.

Edward Harper’s Album Leaf may well be one of his latest works since it was completed in 2008. It is based on a somewhat earlier work for solo flute written to mark Richard Chester’s retirement after twenty years as Director of NYOS. The composer, however, felt that this short work could be expanded, hence this new piece opening with the piece for solo flute later joined by the strings and developing the material in a mostly lyrical mood. The music, however, moves to a climax before ending as calmly as it began.

Buxton Orr’s A Celtic Suite is the only work here that has already been recorded before (in “Scottish Light Music” on ASV White Line CD WHL 2123). It is made out of four traditional dances - reel, slow strathspey, jig and port-a-beul - although the tunes are completely original though strongly folk-inflected. This attractive work, too, is light music of the highest order but nevertheless superbly crafted as the rest of this delightfully unpretentious programme.

As far as I can judge the playing is remarkably assured and these young players obviously put all their heart in these fine works and relish every ounce of them. The recording is very fine indeed. My sole regret concerning this otherwise most enjoyable is the rather short playing time that might have allowed for the inclusion of some other works such as Thomas Wilson’s Pas de Quoi (1964) or Ritornelli per Archi (1972) to name but two that come to mind. This, however, must not deter anyone from listening to this attractive and enjoyable release.

Hubert Culot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 


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