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Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 with second movement by Sally Beamish
Violin Concerto in E major
Stout & McKay
Dealer In Hope
Fiddle Chris Stout
Scottish harp Catriona McKay
What do Baroque, folk and traditional music have in common? Your feet.
Written centuries apart, each piece on this programme is united by an irresistible and inescapably human rhythmic drive. Whether it’s in Bach’s heavenly streams of endless notes, the unrelenting gusto of Bartók’s army of strings, or the rugged, haunting flicks and twists of Sally Beamish’s treacherous ocean in her concerto for fiddle and Scottish harp, each piece on this programme will propel you forwards on a journey across centuries and landscapes, from the 18th-century to the present day.
Scottish Ensemble will perform two of Bach’s most well-loved pieces for strings – the third of his famous Brandenburg Concertos, lively and appealing – and his bright, confident Violin Concerto in E major, with the solo violin emerging from the orchestral texture offering glimpses of effortless virtuosity. In trademark Scottish Ensemble style, Artistic Director Jonathan Morton will not only be bringing fresh perspectives to Bach’s solo line and encouraging us to hear the notes in a different way; we’ll also be performing a brand new second movement in the Brandenburg written by celebrated Scottish composer Sally Beamish for string orchestra, harpsichord – and, more unexpectedly, fiddle and Scottish harp.
On that note, we’re thrilled to be joined by two very special guests, the trailblazing, dynamic and award-winning Celtic-influenced duo of Shetland fiddler Chris Stout and Dundee-born Scottish harpist Catriona McKay, who, aside from Sally Beamish’s inventive addition to the Bach concerto, will join us in two other pieces.
The first is Sally Beamish’s 2012 commission, Seavaigers, a concerto for Scottish harp, fiddle and string orchestra which so evocatively depicts a sea journey between the northerly ports of Dundee and Shetland (the ‘seafarers’ of the title refers to sea voyagers in general, as well as Chris and Catriona themselves…). Split into three movements – Storm, Lament and Haven – the piece captures the strong emotions attached to any long journey, but particularly a journey at sea: anticipation, fear, comradeship and adventure.
Scottish Ensemble, Chris and Catriona will also perform Dealer In Hope – the second track from their latest album, Bare Knuckle. Starting life as a melody written to celebrate Jonathan Morton’s 10th anniversary as Artistic Director and Leader of SE, in 2017, Scottish Ensemble musicians stepped out of their comfort zones and predominantly classical training experiences to take part in three workshops in which they learnt the piece by the traditional music practice of playing by ear and memory. Its premiere performance at this year’s Celtic Connections festival (as part of an evening of special guests, alongside King Creosote and more) was a joyful experience, full of the creativity, spark and freedom that comes from such a way of collaborating.
Whether dancing in Bach’s court, toiling in Bartók’s fields, or sailing across Beamish’s seas, join Scottish Ensemble, Chris Stout and Catriona McKay for a toe-tapping adventure through rhythm, melody and time.