Andrew Toovey – ‘Lament, Strathspey, Reel’ (1988)

Posted on June 5th, 2019 by


Andrew Toovey – ‘Lament, Strathspey, Reel’ (1988)

St James Garlickhythe 7th June 2019 (Preludes & Vollenteries 21)

Violin – Girolamo Amati 1628

Composer and performer – very happy after the concert. St James Garlickhythe
Friday, June 7, 2019 

Peter Sheppard Skaerved-Violin (Hill 1900) – Workshop recording 5 6 19

The Strathspey section of Andrew Toovey’s solo piece. PSS working score

The composer Andrew Toovey has written a number of highly evocative works for violin alone, and this is the earliest of them, dating from 1988. I think that it’s worth mentioning that the late 80s saw a rich seam of rhapsodic writing for violin alone from composers working in the UK. If there is anything which these works have in common, it is the feeling of a new vision of what I would call the ‘violin of the soil’, and a response to traditional musics, without any trace of sentimentalising. The title of Toovey’s work nods in this direction, but this is no transcription of Scottish music, or a ‘musician in the landscape’ type work (such as Maxwell Davies’ ‘Mrs Linklater’s Tune’ {1998). Perhaps the core is the idea of the voice, the voice of the violin, through the violin, the musician as a kind of shaman, not fully in control of what they are singing. A year after this work, Michael Finnissy’s Enek appeared, which demands a similar act of singing and speaking. You can hear that here: LINK TO ENEK