Hebrides Ensemble

I spent much of this week in Edinburgh with the Hebrides Ensemble, recording a CD for Delphian Records, with fabulous vocalist, Ailish Tynan. Whatever any eventual listeners think of the results, I had a wonderful time while seven of my compositions, old and new, slid slowly by, carefully scrutinised bar by bar at Paul Baxter’s sound desk (most of the work done these days on a wee laptop.)

But there were other reasons for delight. I greatly enjoyed my healthy strides across the New Town in search of rehearsals simultaneously taking place here and there. Rather like a visit to the Edinburgh Festival itself, and its constant geographical calculations: “if I can get from the Dean Bridge to Broughton Street in twenty minutes, I’ll be able to hear the last half hour of Airs from Another Planet”.

And with ever crazier news coming out of Westminster, it was great to have a compulsory reason to keep the phone switched off all day. The PM’s speech to the nation seems to have driven everyone particularly crazy, but Paul, I and Hebrides musicians were peacefully balancing string trio chords while it all happened. A sentiment I heard several times this week in the Athens of the North was, “I am not a nationalist and I voted No in the 2014 Referendum, but…”

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JUDITH WEIR

Composer

© Judith Weir, 2020