A Musical Fascination with the Islands of Scotland

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Sir Peter Maxwell Davies

This week on The Furthermore, the islands of Scotland — the Hebrides, the Orkneys, the Shetlands — have been a subject of fascination for composers since a 20-year-old Felix Mendelssohn visited the Hebrides Islands almost 200 years ago. That fascination continues to this day, with England’s Sir Peter Maxwell Davies writing music inspired by his adopted home in the Orkney Islands; Irish composer Irene Buckley’s orchestral evocation of traditional Hebridean chant; and a remarkable piece of musical sleuthing that documents the lost songs of the islands of St. Kilda.

Program playlist:

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies: Farewell To Stromness, excerpt
Peter Maxwell Davies, piano

Felix Mendelssohn: Hebrides Overture
London Classical Players; Roger Norrington, conductor

Irene Buckley: Storr
RTE National Symphony Orchestra; Gavin Moloney, conductor

Alasdair Roberts and Robin Robertson: Exodus, excerpt
From the album Hirta Songs by Alasdair Roberts

Trad. Hirta island: Soay
Trevor Morrison, piano

Trad. Hirta/arr. Rebecca Dale: Soay
Scottish Festival Orchestra; James MacMillan, conductor

Trad. Hirta/arr. James MacMillan: Hirta
Trevor Morrison, piano; Scottish Festival Orchestra; James MacMillan, conductor

Trad. Hirta/arr. Craig Armstrong: Stac Lee
Scottish Festival Orchestra; James MacMillan, conductor

Trad. Shetland Islands: Hjaltaren
Nordic Fiddler’s Bloc, fiddles

Max Bruch: Scottish Fantasy, part IV, allegro guerriera
Jascha Heifetz, violin; New Symphony Orchestra of London; Malcolm Sargent conductor

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies: Farewell To Stromness
Peter Maxwell Davies, piano

Trad. Hirta: Hirta, excerpt
Trevor Morrison, piano