Scottish Ensemble to tour Scotland with new show Night and Day
A candlelit evening of music including pieces by Chopin, Mozart and the late Steve Martland
In amongst all the traditional Christmas concerts there is usually at least one that is a little bit different. Proving once again that tinsel and Santa hats really aren’t necessary to get into seasonal spirit, the Scottish Ensemble’s December programme brings night and day together in the same candlelit evening. ‘We try to do a strongly themed Christmas concert each year,’ says the group’s artistic director, Jonathan Morton. ‘It’s never about Christmas but is at Christmas time. The concert is atmospherically candlelit, and that gave me the idea of light and dark, which also gives contrast.’
Probably the most famous piece of night music is Mozart’s ‘Eine Kleine Nachtmusik’, taking pride of place alongside two arrangements of nocturnal music specially made for the Scottish Ensemble. ‘Chopin is one of the most well-known composers of nocturnes,’ says Morton, ‘and Borodin’s “Sinfonia for Strings” has a nocturne as its third movement.’ Written as a love letter to his wife, it’s in an arrangement by Lucas Drew of Borodin’s ‘String Quartet No 2’. The Chopin piano pieces are being heard in brand new arrangements by David Matthews. ‘He’s done quite a few for us,’ says Morton, ‘and I think he’s got a real ear and feel for strings.’
For day, Morton has turned to contemporary music and Steve Martland’s ‘Eternity’s Sunrise’. One of the most energetic and dynamic composers of the 21st century, Martland died last year of a heart attack at the age of just 53. ‘It is time to revisit his music and the piece that we commissioned in 2008,’ says Morton. ‘I really believe in doing premieres again. Steve’s piece is the sunrise of the programme and we are really fond of it. It’s such strong rhythmically driven music.’
Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, Sun 7 Dec; Wellington Church, Glasgow, Thu 11 Dec.