north east scotland's festival of new music

press reviews

Scottish Flute Trio
with Robert Irvine and Rhian MacLeod

Written by Alan Cooper, The Herald

reproduced with permission

article | The Herald

Scottish Flute Trio - with Robert Irvine and Rhian MacLeod - Duff House, Banff
Star rating: ****

The elegant Georgian setting of Duff House in Banff provided the sound Festival with an attractive venue for the Scottish Flute Trio's concert of works by female composers with Scottish connections. Taking Turns by Thea Musgrave was commissioned to celebrate the composer's 80th birthday in May.

Darkly seductive tones from three alto flutes were gradually substituted with brighter sounding instruments, till in the third movement two piccolos took on a single flute in lively interplay. The finale involved three different types of flute in delightful contrapuntal exchanges.

Twenty years ago Janet Larsson gave the premiere performance of Musgrave's Narcissus, a powerfully descriptive piece for solo flute making subtle use of digital delay. Her performance of the same work on Thursday was utterly compelling.

Aquarium, another commission by the Trio, this time from Sally Beamish, was also a brilliantly descriptive piece. Here the ensemble was joined by cellist Robert Irvine. The darting movements of fish against a watery background were graphically depicted in this substantial and beautifully crafted piece, which culminated in a delightful jazzy coda for piccolos and pizzicato cello.

Kirsty Blackwood's Elastic Cast added marimba, played by Rhian Macleod. Initially static but with constantly evolving instrumental colours, it finally broke out in an explosion of infectious rhythm. In Wanderlust, a melody suggesting a children's playground song started the music scurrying hither and thither to express composer Audrey McPherson's memories of solo ramblings through the streets of Glasgow aged 10.

Finally, leaving the town far behind, flutes and marimba led us down Pippa Murphy's Changing Paths, letting us share her impressions of roaming the highland countryside.

reproduced by kind permission of Alan Cooper and The Herald.

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13Thu 7.30 pmBanffScottish Flute Trio, with Robert Irvine and Rhian Macleod