Watching Over You with Karen Cargill

KAREN CARGILL PHOTO CREDIT K K DUNDASWatching Over You, the premiere of a new song cycle by Scottish composer Rory Boyle, setting a specially-written set of poems by Dilys Rose for Scottish Mezzo Soprano Karen Cargill and Red Note Ensemble. The seven songs tell, in honest first-person detail, of the joys and trials of early motherhood.

Based around the experience of first-time motherhood, it’s not intended as a through narrative but instead focuses on a series of different stages and situations, and their accompanying moods and emotions, that a new mother might experience at different points in her child’s development. These range from the realisation that your life is about to change irrevocably to post-natal blues, from the joy of holding a newborn baby in your arms to the crippling doubts and fears when nursing a sick child through the night, from singing a child to sleep to waving goodbye at the school gates.

19 – 20 May 7.30pm
Watching Over You with Karen Cargill
St Andrew’s in the Square, Glasgow and Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh
Red Note Ensemble conducted by Jean-Claude Picard
Tickets £15 (£10 concession)

Box Office or call 0131 668 2019 or call 0141 559 5902

Photo credit KK Dundas


Classics Marathon Day – a triumph

Classic Music Marathon 56Last weekend saw Nicola Benedetti lead the cream of Scotland’s orchestras, classical musicians and ensembles in one amazing marathon day of music at the heart of the Commonwealth Games, produced by Glasgow UNESCO City of Music.

There has never been a day like it in Glasgow – it was a feast of many flavours: from Baroque to Tango, Scottish to Indian, solo to mega-orchestra. Nicola undertook a personal marathon for the day, rehearsing and performing three concerts with different orchestras: a challenge every bit as extreme as running 26 miles.

The programme included performances by Red Note Ensemble and Kuljit Bhamra, Dunedin Consort, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Hebrides Ensemble, RSNO and BBC SSO and Scottish Ensemble.

Elbow Room by Thomas Butler

ThomasButlerLoresRed Note, Sound and Music Embedded Composer in Residence, Thomas Butler‘s new work Elbow Room explores the psychogeography of cites; how we affect the city and how the city affects us.

The culmination of an 18 month residency with Red Note, Elbow Room uses composition, performance and field recording techniques to tell the story of the mid-twentieth century plan to demolish the city of Glasgow and replace it with a futuristic concrete utopia; an architect’s view of a healthier, more rational and productive city, for a healthier, more rational and productive population.

Thomas Butler said: “When I first moved to Glasgow I wondered why there was a motorway running through the city centre; that was really the starting point for this piece. Elbow Room echoes a time when Glasgow was being torn down to make way for a futuristic city powered by its inhabitants; an efficient machine with clean lines and clean living.”

Mixing period films from the Scottish Screen Archive, which extol the virtues of the Glasgow of the future, with new sound recordings made in the city and a virtuosic score featuring violin, cello, percussion, electric guitar, synthesizer, clarinet and bass clarinet, Elbow Room is a nostalgic reflection upon fantasy and reality, ideal and actuality.

John Harris, Red Note Ensemble, said: “Tom has been part of the Red Note ‘family’ since the beginning of last year, and in that time he’s worked with us many different roles – including producer, workshop-leader and even music-stand-mover (!) as part of the all-inclusive experience of his Embedded Residency. It’s now time for him to shine with us as a composer, and we’re thrilled with Elbow Room. It’s such an ambitious and thoughtful piece, and we are incredibly proud to be presenting it with him.” 

Thomas added: “In the city each generation overwrites the last and creates a layered tapestry of ways of living in constant flux. A city’s development is being told at the micro and macro level; from multi-million pound construction projects to old signs and insignia that survive long past the thing they once signified and patches of wasteland, now overgrown ghosts of their former social and commercial life.”

More than just a story, Elbow Room is an evocative, highly stylised voyage combining video footage, still images and music. Transporting the audience back to a glorified past, a time of naively optimistic urban evolution.


Elbow Room @ Summerhall, Edinburgh / 21 May / 8pm / Tickets £8/£5: 
Elbow Room @ The Arches, Glasgow / 22 May / 8pm / Tickets £8/£5:

It’s Time to PLUG in to New Music

PLUG Festival, now in its ninth year, is all about showcasing original compositions by students of The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) and once again Scotland’s contemporary music ensemble, Red Note, will open and close this year’s festival.

PLUG is raw, edgy and exciting as students spill their compositional guts to the public for the first time. The talent is vast and the opportunities are many; no other University or Conservatoire in the UK offers students the chance to have their compositions premiered in this way and it’s a gamble that has paid off. 

RCS Contemporary Ensemble-in-Residence, Red Note, open and close this year’s festival, teaming up with new ensemble Astrid Quartet and RCS students for the opening night, Plug 1 on 30 April, which features compositions by Jay Capperauld, Lucy Hollingsworth and Tom Butler. 

The finale on 2 May, Plug 5 Go Big or Go Home, closes spectacularly with a large ensemble of players from Red Note and MusicLab performing some exciting new works under the baton of visiting Conductor Garry Walker. The programme will include a work by French composer Daniel Fígols Cuevas as part of the continuing partnership with the Paris Conservatoire.

Thomas Butler appointed Embedded Composer in Residence at Red Note

Glasgow based composer and conductor Thomas Butler has been appointed composer-in-residence at Red Note Ensemble. His residency is part of Sound and Music’s Embedded project, which partners musicians with national arts organisations keen to support and develop creative practice and forge new relationships.

Funded by The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Embedded residencies have an extremely competitive application process, with only five places awarded in 2012-2013. Embedded is a bespoke programme offering up-and-coming composers transformational experience in terms of talent development, artistic ambition, professional practise and growing networks.

Thomas begins his 18 month residency in April. He plans to use composition, performance and field recording techniques to explore the psychogeography of Glasgow. The final distributed multimedia work will engage with the urban landscape of Glasgow and its affect on the people of Glasgow and will be performed in and around Glasgow in summer 2014.