I have been working with a student on Rory Dall’s Port from James Oswald’s Caledonian Pocket Companion. I have written on this blog before about how I think this tune was composed by Oswald as a pastiche of old Gaelic harp style.
“Nathaniel Gow’s Dance Band Concert” last night at the Edinburgh Assembly rooms was far, far more exciting, beautiful and moving than I had expected. The venue was just stunning, the band was amazing, the dancers were elegant and alluring, the programming was just perfect and the audience was almost full and really engaged with the entire project.
For my 10-minute set in next Friday’s 1817 bicentenary concert, I have been thinking about what tunes to play, and how to approach them.
On Friday 20th January, I will be in the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh, playing as part of a bicentenary concert. Nathaniel Gow introduced Quadrille dances to Edinburgh in 1817, at his annual ball at the Assembly Rooms, and this year Talitha MacKenzie has organised a series of events commemorating this. The main event will be a Regency ball on Saturday 11th March, but there will also be dance workshops and the concert on 20th Jan.
For the next month, you can view the BBC TV documentary Scotland’s Treasures on iPlayer.
On Thursday I was at the National Museum of Scotland store in Granton, a suburb north of Edinburgh. I went there with Karen Loomis, to look at the plaster-cast of the Trinity College harp which is kept in the store. We had a very productive hour, inspecting, measuring and photographing the cast, and discussing aspects of the cast and how it related to the real thing in the Long Room at Trinity College, and to later illustrations and depictions of the harp.
On Friday 24th April is the first big public outing of the replica Queen Mary harp after it has been seriously reworked inside by Natalie Surina of Ériú Harps. I am going to present my “Margaret 1281” programme of storytelling, song, harp music and bowed-lyre tunes, as part of the annual Northern Streams festival in Edinburgh.
Last night Ealasaid and I were in Edinburgh for the exhibition and announcement of the winners of the poster competition organised by Bella Caledonia with other groups.
We had a great time looking at and discussing all of the entries. Of course, my entry did not win – far too oddball I think!
I got a copy of the winning poster, signed by the artist Ciaran Murphy
You can also see the shortlist of 20 designs, including mine. I think they are all excellent!
Thanks to Karen Loomis for this nice photo!
We are exhibiting at the harp festival. We have had a good time so far, making sales, restringing harps and running an ad-hoc fingernail repair salon! The medieval harp chocolate bars have been a great talking point!
This afternoon two pedal harpists are at the Holywell stand next to ours, practicing classical duets on two pedal harps. It is very civilised and pleasant here out at the end of the school campus.