Friday, 22 August 2008

The Twittering Machine

Despite being laid low with a horrible sore throat/bug which has meant I've not been able to go to a single EIF event, I could not miss this, so drugged up with anti-biotics and paracetamol, made it to the 'Twittering Machine' in the Royal Botanical Gardens, Edinburgh.
This was the second performance (we missed the first night) of only two public performances of our son, James' classical composition, (along with pieces by other gifted young composers, some still at school) commissioned and played by members of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in the Temperate Palm House, a splendid 19th century conservatory , the tallest in the Botanics. And so surrounded by tall palms and tropical plants from lontars to bananas trees, orchids, hibiscus and other exotic plants we listened to twitterings and melodies reminiscent of birds, trapped in cages then flying free in dawn sun and twilight. This was the brief set by the organizers who used Messiaen and the work of Paul Klee as the springboard for inspiration. Alisdair Nicholson, the Scottish composer, from Skye and the Black Isle, was their composition tutor in a course of workshops which produced this work and the second half of the programme was his own work of the same title. I was interested to learn that he used as his springboard plainsong Gaelic chants by the St.Kildans (St. Kilda being one of my obsessions of the moment).

Two of the other student pieces were of a very high standard, that of Lliam Paterson( very accomplished) and Gordon Douglas (quirky and original), the latter a member with James of their own (the Boroughmuir) jazz trio.

I have to admit tears trickled down my cheeks at hearing James' work: it was extraordinarily beautiful. 'Mothers! They're so embarrassing,' Alistair teased me. Apparently the piece reduced another woman to tears on the first night. So it wasn't just me!

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