After the Snow by Malcolm Lindsay

album coverAfter the Snow, released on 9 February 2015, is the latest album by acclaimed Scottish composer Malcolm Lindsay. Beautifully performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, conducted by Greg Lawson, the CD features a world premiere co-write with English National Opera clarinettist Barnaby Robson.

The album contains three suites; Remembrance, Vision and Last Words and draws inspiration from the spoken word of Dr King, the written words of Mark Halliday, Bernard MacLaverty and Janice Galloway, the street sounds collected by artist and printmaker Stuart Duffin in Jerusalem and the photography of Margaret Watkins.

Malcolm Lindsay proves himself a composer of rare subtlety and this music is written from the heart. A very personal body of work that reflects Malcolm’s emotional journey of one kind or another, After the Snow is a luscious sonic experience, both meditative and cinematic in quality.

Ned Bigham’s new album ‘Culebra’ is a musical tribute to the Scottish landscape

culebra“Bonnie Charlie” in a World Premiere Recording

“Will ye no come back again” is among the most famous of Jacobite songs by Lady Nairne which find new life in this world premiere recording of five rhapsodies by Ned Bigham, performed by the dazzling strings of the Scottish Ensemble.

Commissioned by Creative Scotland in 2010, Bigham’s inspired re-imagining of ballads, that also include “The 100 Pipers”, “Caller Herrin”, “The Rowan Tree” and “The Auld Hoose”, were first performed by the Ensemble in that same year as part of Points of Departure – new music from Scotland  in Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Art. Subsequent performances have included The Crear Arts Centre in Argyll. Ned’s ancestor Lady Nairne came from a Jacobite family who sheltered Bonnie Prince Charlie in their home.

The five settings form part of the first CD release on Aruna Records, published by Faber Music. It also includes the composer’s moving collection of orchestral miniatures inspired by the grandeur of the Scottish Highlands, “An Caisteal”, “Glenfinglas”, “Sail Mhor” and “Portsonachan”, in a stellar performance by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

The album is bookended by two parts of the title piece, performed by the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra. Composed just before the death of his father, they are dedicated to him. Following this sad event Ned left London and returned to rural Sussex in order to maintain the family estate, a move which fostered a newfound appreciation of landscape and nature, and inspired the epic, ambient orchestral texture of these movements.

Both orchestras are conducted by the acclaimed Gregory Rose, Music Director of the Jupiter Orchestra, Jupiter Singers, Singcircle and CoMA London Ensemble.

On “Culebra” Ned Bigham proves himself a composer of rare subtlety, and much of his music has a meditative, reflective quality. Influenced by composers as diverse as Vaughan Williams, Tavener, MacMillan, Arvo Part, Gorecki, Holst, Delius, Ravel, Mahler and Messiaen, “Culebra” is a very personal body of work that reflects Ned’s ruminations on location, history and family, distant memories finding continuity in the present. “Culebra” is a luscious sonic experience, a portrait of a singular voice in contemporary composition.

Release date: 19 May 2014

Astar is Born

60,000 babies across Scotland take their first step on a life-long musical journey.

From October 2012 every single child born in Scotland will begin a lifelong musical journey when they receive a specially-commissioned CD of Scottish songs, nursery rhymes and children’s favourite classical pieces. 

Thanks to a groundbreaking initiative between the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO), Creative Scotland, National Records of Scotland and Association of Registrars of Scotland, every baby born between 15 October 2012 and 14 October 2013 will receive a copy of Astar when their parents register the birth and receive their birth certificate.  

Astar (Gaelic for journey) was recorded by the RSNO, RSNO Chorus and new Music Director Peter Oundjian to introduce music into the lives of 60,000 Scottish families and to help parents learn, play and rest with their new arrivals. 

Former STV golden girl, and mum of two, Sarah Heaney joined a group of toddlers from Suffolk House Nursery, Edinburgh to help launch the CD: “I think this is a wonderful project to be involved in and for our family music has always played an enormous part. My kids, from day one, have been surrounded by music of some kind or other, from starting off banging pots and pans to taking part in musical groups. 

“Music is a universal language and has help my kids develop a real confidence, getting involved with other kids and is a fantastic way of expressing and exploring their creativity. And for parents there are benefits too. If you are lucky enough to go to a toddlers music group it’s a fabulous way of meeting other parents and the beauty of music is that it stays with you your whole life, it’s in everything and its everywhere.”

Listening to beautiful music has a direct impact on how much your baby’s brain grows. It can put them in a great mood, help with communicating, coordination and bonding, and supports their first steps towards a life-long love of music. 

Astar contains a variety of music cleverly organised into three sections: Wake, Play and Nap. The sleeve notes contain top tips for enjoying music with newborns, fun games connected to each track, and the lyrics to some of Scotland’s best loved nursery rhymes: Ally Bally Bee, The Little Horses and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. 

Performed by the RSNO and RSNO Junior Chorus, with Music Director Peter Oundjian, the repertoire reflects the wonderful power and sound of a symphony orchestra – a completely new experience for many families. Scottish classics such as The Skye Boat Song, Eightsome Reels and Three Craws Sat Upon a Wa’ snuggle alongside timeless masterpieces by Tchaikovsky, Mozart and Debussy. 

RSNO Music Director Peter Oundjian: “When I was an infant my godfather gave me a tiny record player. I would place it under the family piano and put on my prized recording of Peter and the Wolf. It became my sanctuary, a place where I knew I could find joy. I have found that the power and beauty of music can truly transform lives and I seriously hope that the recipients of Astar enjoy many hours of shared pleasure to this wonderful music.”

Music is the most universal of all art forms and the RSNO plans to support parents and carers in building music and creativity into their everyday lives, and to nurture a life-long love of music for themselves, their baby and the rest of their family. Opportunities for babies and their parents to participate in follow-on workshops are being planned across the country from 2013 and all will be invited to sign up to the Orchestra’s Under 5s initiative.