21 - 24 October 2021

Common Sound


What’s special about live music?

Why do we gather together to listen to it?

What part does the audience play in a live performance?

Why not…just stay at home and stick a recording on?

During Common Sound we will be exploring these questions through live performance and conversation, guided by BBC 6 Music DJ and Psychotherapist Nemone.

Alongside thought-provoking words from Nemone, we’ll be playing short sets that will range from gut-wrenchingly beautiful Bach through to hypnotic Steve Reich, as well as music by Jonny Greenwood and Caroline Shaw.

As we meet again for live performance this is a timely and powerful reminder of what it means to gather, on Common Sound.

  • Wojciech Kilar
    Orawa
  • Jonny Greenwood
    Proven Lands
  • Steve Reich
    Excerpts from Triple Quartet
  • François Couperin
    Les Barricades Mystérieuses
  • Peter Gregson
    Primary Colours
  • JS Bach
    Erbarm dich mein, o Herre Gott
  • Caroline Shaw
    The Orangery from Plan and Elevation
  • Peter Sculthorpe
    Estatico from Third Sonata for Strings

Booking Information

Returning to Live Performance: Keeping you Safe and Comfortable

At Scottish Ensemble we believe in putting our audiences at the heart of what we do, and that’s why for these performances we’re giving you a choice of performance styles. For those who’d like a little more reassurance we are offering a 6pm socially distanced concert, at 50% of the venue capacity. For those who’d like to prioritise the atmosphere of a live concert, our 8pm concert will be non-distanced.*

Whichever performance you choose, your safety and comfort is our priority. For both performances we’ll be providing hand sanitiser and in line with Scottish government advice, we ask that you wear a face covering. In addition please be reassured that all Scottish Ensemble musicians and staff will be tested daily as well.

We hope that with these measures and with the choice of performance styles you can enjoy being back on Common Sound with us – we can’t wait to have you with us again.

* In Dundee we are only able to schedule one performance, which will be socially distanced.

  • Thu 21 October 6:00 pm
    Glasgow  Cottiers Theatre

    Socially distanced performance

  • Thu 21 October 8:00 pm
    Glasgow  Cottiers Theatre
  • Fri 22 October 6:00 pm
    Inverness  Eden Court

    Socially distanced performance

  • Fri 22 October 8:00 pm
    Inverness  Eden Court
  • Sat 23 October 6:00 pm
    Edinburgh  Assembly Roxy

    Socially distanced performance

  • Sat 23 October 8:00 pm
    Edinburgh  Assembly Roxy
  • Sun 24 October 2:00 pm
    Dundee  Marryat Hall

    Socially distanced performance

Preview the Music

Listen to some of the tracks we'll be performing on the Common Sound tour.

Notes on the Music

Find out more about some of the lesser-known composers and music we feature in Common Sound.

Orawa by Wojciech Kilar
Inspired by highland folklore, Orawa crowns a series of Polish composer Kilar’s compositions. From Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula to Jane Campion’s Portrait of a Lady, Kilar’s enigmatic scores and compositions are known for their minimalistic qualities. Kilar was said to have believed he had discovered the philosopher’s stone, and that “there was nothing more beautiful than the solitary sound or concord that lasted eternally, that this was the deepest wisdom, nothing like our tricks with sonata allegros, fugues, and harmonics.” Deep indeed…

Third Sonata for Strings by Peter Sculthorpe
Sculthorpe loved to write for performers he knew and was particularly drawn to the string quartet form. For many, his music centrally represents Australia; its landscape, its peoples, and also its musical and physical separateness from Europe. The Third Sonata for Strings, written for the legendary Kronos Quartet, is based on Sculthorpe’s String Quartet No 11. The subtitle, “Jabiru Dreaming” takes its name from a sacred rock formation in Kakadu National Park. The music contains rhythmic patterns found in the tribal music of the Kakadu area and that reflect the gait of the `jabiru’ stork, whilst the second part derives from an Aboriginal chant transcribed by a member of the Baudin exploratory expedition in 1802.

Les Barricades Mysterieuses by Francois Couperin
Much like the name suggests, this piece is a little mystery. Long rumoured to be about ladies’ ‘eyelashes’, freemasonry or even the wine barrels of Bacchus, this suggestive piece allows for a kaleidoscope of interpretation. Written for harpsichord, it has appeared on Terrence Malick’s film Tree of Life, in Angela Hewitt’s rolling piano arrangement, and as a quintet arrangement for clarinet, bass clarinet, viola, cello and double bass by Thomas Ades. Couperin, referred to as ‘Couperin the Great’ to distinguish him from the long dynasty of 17th-18th century Couperin family musicians, is known to have exchanged letters with Bach, which apparently ended up as jam-jar lids. Jammy!