The Scottish Recorder Orchestra

Conductor: Eileen Silcocks

Associate conductor: Dietrich Schnabel     Chair: Ingeborg van Knippenberg

Sunday 7 October 2012 at 2:30 p.m.
Reid Concert Hall, Bristo Square, Edinburgh EH8 9AL

In celebration of the Scottish Recorder Orchestra’s 10th Anniversary, the SRO along with the Dortmund Consort gave a concert on Sunday 7 October at the Reid Concert Hall in Edinburgh. This was a major affair with both Eileen Silcocks and Dietrich Schnabel conducting some of their own compositions.

The concert started off at a lively pace with The Garbsen Jig by Eileen Silcocks, a piece written for a recorder ensemble that meets in Garbsen, near Hanover. This was followed by Steven Marshall’s The Long Path Home. This work is in the minimalist style, and was inspired by a poem by Judy Kendall, “Treading the Cotswold Way”. It was very descriptive of that last few miles of trudging along to reach warmth and home.

Das Glaut zu Speyer by Ludwig Senfl gave a very different impression.  This 16th century piece is a beautiful illustration of church bells, chiming through the town of Speyer, in Germany.

Next came the Brington Crystal by Lyndon Hilling. This work was specially commissioned for this concert and simply to ask one of the top recorder orchestra composers to write something new. The composer came to our rehearsal and at the performance he gave a brief introduction to his own work. This was inspired by the tomb of Margaret Viscountess Althorp, who married Charles Robert, 6th Earl Spencer in 1889, and died at a tragically young age. Her grieving husband placed a crystal on top of a Celtic cross, which caught the sunlight. It is a most expressive piece that reflected both happy memories and intense grief.

To follow, Tristis est anima mea by Orlando di Lasso, brought a thoughtful calm to the programme. The text, upon which this music is based, is St. Matthew's Gospel, just before Jesus is betrayed. The music is suitably sombre and Lassus depicts the drama of the situation perfectly, with empty moments, frequent dissonances, and beautiful expression of the text in the musical structures.

Symphonic Dances by Dietrich Schnabel was the final offering.  A set of five dances, hot off the press, composed for recorder orchestra. The suite is a mixture of the more sedate and the positively aerobic (Polonaise, Paso Doble, Waltz, Funeral March,
Sabre Dance).

The orchestra gave an encore to a most unusual concert with a ‘guess the melody’ composition by Philip Buttall, arranged for recorders by Steve Marshall. The title was The Lone Ar-ranger (with apologies to Rossini!) and rounded off a most enjoyable experience for both players and an appreciative audience.

Jean Macdonald

Concert programme  -  YouTube video