29 April - 7 August 2021

First Light

Bringing life and energy into your world, First Light signals our transition from darkness to brighter times. We’re delighted that Guest Director Max Baillie – who describes himself as a cross-pollinator of styles, soloist, chamber musician, improviser and member of Lodestar Trio and ZRI – will lead us on a journey through joyful, uplifting and optimistic music, bursting with luminosity.

From Jessie Montgomery’s explosive Starburst, through the tempestuousness of a new string ensemble arrangement of Haydn’s ‘Fifths’ string quartet to Vivaldi’s vivacious Concerto Grosso in G minor, the programme presents a visual and sonic dialogue between old and new, between darkness and light.

Working with Flux Video to create a striking film, we invite you to join us online to re-energise. This film was created under Covid-secure conditions in the Engine Works, Glasgow; a venue that brings the tradition of Glasgow’s proud industrial history and blends it with a modern, contemporary and visionary concept.

  • Vivaldi
    Concerto Grosso in G minor RV 156
  • Jessie Montgomery
  • Haydn
    String Quartet Op. 76 No. 2 ‘Fifths’ (Arranged by Iain Farrington and Max Baillie)
  • J.S. Bach (arr. Baillie)
    Chorale 218: ‘Laẞ, o Herr, dein Ohr sich neigen’ (‘O Lord let thine ear incline’) (Arranged by Max Baillie)
  • Max Baillie
    Mirrors in Time
  • Steve Martland
    Eternity’s Sunrise
  • Thu 29 April 7:30 pm
    Online  Filmed Performance

Film Trailer

Watch a sneak preview of our new filmed performance.


  • Director/Violin
    Max Baillie
  • Violin
    Kate Suthers, Kana Kawashima, Tristan Gurney, Laura Ghiro, George Smith
  • Viola
    Jane Atkins, Andrew Berridge
  • Cello
    Alison Lawrance, Naomi Pavri
  • Bass
    Diane Clark
  • Harpsichord
    Jan Waterfield

Film Credits

  • DOP / Director
    Richard Watson
  • Music Director
    Max Baillie
  • Music Recording and Mixing
    Jonathan Green
  • Camera Operators
    Stuart Edwards, Ray Bird
  • Filmed at The Engine Works, Glasgow by Flux Video

A virtual welcome!

from Max Baillie, Guest Director

After months of lockdown, it felt very adventurous to get on a train to Glasgow and meet the wonderful musicians of Scottish Ensemble for this project. There were a few exciting firsts: in researching the Steve Martland for example, I couldn’t find a recording anywhere online, less a video recording. There is also a tradition of some string quartets being played with larger forces and I really wanted to play some Haydn like this… was there a quartet that could work? (They’re not all suited to this treatment…) I had a good long listen and the Op. 76 No. 2 jumped right out, crying to have an added double bass and that string symphony sound to bring out all the Sturm and Drang-ness, but ultimately the uplifting quality, of this wonderful piece.

My piece Mirrors in Time has also not yet been recorded, and we also tried something out of the usual rehearsal mode: live workshop/arranging with the whole ensemble to turn Bach’s Chorale 218 into something from another world. With just the score as a starting point it was a fun and creative alternative to reading the dots more or less as written, a real exercise in experimentation, which I believe should be central to rehearsing even when the music is more exactly notated. It was a total joy working with Scottish Ensemble (even if my quite serious concentrating face on the video doesn’t often show it!), and particularly at a time when real chamber music with other people is a rare thing. For the video we wanted to create a sense of alternate reality, of dark and light, and an intimacy with the players through this sonic journey. I do hope you enjoy this film!

Resources & Downloads

  • First Light - Programme

    1.39 MB
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