The Scottish Chamber Orchestra Ensemble, a group of principal players from the SCO, perform a selection of Mozart's chamber works written for smaller forces. This intimate performance showcases the wealth of talent present in this multi-award-winning orchestra
Hearing or performing music comes closest in the range of human activity to a visceral connection to the past. As long as we have notation and knowledge of how to interpret it, we can effectively experience something like our ancestors did when they sang the same music. Of course, our 20th-century sensibilities and knowledge–or lack thereof–prevent us from sharing identical responses, but as with the music on this disc, when we hear it we are in some way transported to another place. We know a completely different sound world from our own; we know that the accepted order of certain things was different. And we also know that in many ways people haven't changed. Machaut's music conveys a spirituality–both joyful and contemplative–that's as true in its impact as it must have been 600 years ago, a point made ever so clearly by these especially vibrant and vital performances.
Tommy Smith, the great Scottish saxophonist, composer, bandleader and educator, studied classical orchestration in the 1990s, and has played in plenty of challenging jazz/classical settings. But Modern Jacobite is his most ambitious journey yet, centred on an intricately woven three-movement symphonic work inspired by the Jacobite uprisings; it is bookended by a rapturous tenor-sax improvisation on Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise, and by Chick Corea’s famous Children’s Songs interleaved with Smith’s own Bairn’s Songs as personal variations on the same theme. The Jacobite pieces embrace violent, cinematic soundscapes for slewing brass and thundering percussion; deep cello themes that segue into pulsating tenor-sax ruminations; Scottish folk dances that become pipe-toned tenor jigs.
That's right, King! in Swedish, "Kong" rather than "Drottning"! Christina (1626-1689) was the only surviving child of Sweden's greatest monarch Gustavus Adolphus Vasa, who raised her to rule as a king and whose ministers executed his will by crowning the six-year-old girl King! Christina ruled under a regency until age 18, and then personally and earnestly over some eight years until her abdication in 1654. Her involvement in Swedish affair didn't terminate with her abdication, however. She returned to Sweden several times, on the last of which she might well have resumed her throne but for her whimsical conversion to Catholicism. She also drew her wealth, in her initial years in Italy, from vast estates in Sweden.