The Big Picture


A highlight of last year for me was the premiere of The Big Picture at the reopening of Aberdeen Art Gallery, a commission from them and and Sound Scotland. A fine group of singers and instrumentalists (including Con Anima Chamber Choir, but also many local volunteers) under conductor Roger B Williams gave several confident performances positioned on three far-flung floors of the dramatically refurbished Gallery.

I couldn’t have been happier that Sound Scotland were planning further performances for their October 2020 festival. With Covid restrictions in place, this of course couldn’t happen; although at the weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Sound’s online Festival to introduce a film of last year’s premiere.

However, with amazing joined-upness (which could possibly be coincidence) Bristol Choral Society’s recording of this music has just been released on a Delphian CD. Seeing a very recent new work appear so speedily on CD is a rare event in itself. BCS (under conductor Hilary Campbell) worked with amazing speed to learn and record this quite substantial score in January of this year. Pieces with site specific or community elements (The Big Picture premiere had both) are often tossed aside after their first performance – that event sometimes being an end in itself. So it’s a particular pleasure to report these exceptions to the rule.

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JUDITH WEIR

Composer