SALLY BEAMISH (b.1956): The Singing for Accordion and Orchestra (James Crabb [accordion]), Trumpet Concerto (Håkan Hardenberger [trumpet], National Youth Orchestra of Scotland), Under the Wing of the Rock for Alto Saxophone and Strings (Branford Marsalis [sax]), A Cage of Doves, Reckless.
Catalogue Number: 10R075
Format: SACD hybrid
Description: The accordion concerto is infused with variation, drawn from the psalm singing of the Scottish Free Church in the first movement, and the Piobreachead, the classical music of the Highland bagpipes (whose reedy, pungent sound the accordion does a very good job of emulating) in the second. The background to the work is the history of the Highland Clearances, when poor crofters were evicted en masse by the landowners. The main part of the work is the slow movement, variations on a bagpipe lament which descends into profound tragedy before a final variation strikes a more optimistic note in the finale, leading to a grand, defiant peroration with the bagpipe them writ large. The trumpet concerto was inspired by Italo Calvino's 'Invisible Cities', with its exploration of the limitless possibilities of what cities are or could be. Beamish presents three modern cityscapes, all rather alienating; an imposing metropolis, empty and devoid of human interaction, a jazz-inflected late night of desolation and exhaustion, and a violent dystopian landscape full of percussive discord - all in a highly effective, largely tonal idiom, powerfully evocative in its imagery. A Cage of Doves and Under the Wing of the Rock (the composer's arrangement of a work originally for viola) are short, evocative tone poems drawing on Scots poetry, folk song and legend, with an atmosphere of brooding melancholy like the mist-shrouded Scottish landscape, against which human dramas are played out. Royal Scottish National Orchestra; Martyn Brabbins.