News from McFall’s: October 2014

This November, Mr McFall’s Chamber performs three programmes drawing influence from as far afield as Argentina, Poland and South Uist, collaborating with fabulous artists from folk, world and classical roots.

‘Maverick ensemble Mr McFall’s Chamber have the knack of taking audiences on insightful musical journeys’ The Scotsman

sound: Scotland’s new music festival
Sat 1 Nov 2014, The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen
When McFall’s teamed up with Creative Producer Amble Skuse in early 2014, the Remembered/Imagined gigs earned the band a description from The Scotsman as ‘fearless innovators…at a centre of a web of influences’

This programme of new music inspired by Scottish traditional culture tours to the leading Scottish contemporary music festival, sound, with actor Angus Peter Campbell, Gaelic singer Maeve Mackinnon and Amble Skuse on live electronics.

Viva Tango!
Wed 26 Nov 2014, Jam house Edinburgh
Thu 27 Nov 2014, Brunton Theatre
A thrilling exploration into the intricacy and intrigue of tango music and dancing

Each November, McFall’s invites its friends from across the tango world to gather for a show of authentic Argentine music and milonga.

Great classic tango tunes sit alongside Astor Piazzolla’s music, a vivid combination for those that enjoying sitting and listening with a glass of wine and for those that want to take to the dance floor. Stunning professional dancers Ricardo Oria and Jenny Frances showcase the beauty of Argentine tango and lead the milonga sets. Pre-concert tango dance classes with them start at 6pm before each gig and are free to all ticket holders.

‘Full of fire and passion…there was practically steam rising from the stage’ The Scotsman

Dancing under the Shadows
Sat 29 Nov 2014, Stirling Tolbooth
Sun 30 Nov 2014, Beith Arts
The McFall’s strings join with pianist Simon Smith to recreate the lavish nightclub scene of Eastern European dance bands in the mid-twentieth century.

In the twenties and thirties Argentine tango took the whole world by storm, but nowhere more so than Poland, where songwriters and dance band leaders wrote their own tango numbers and, during the 30’s, developed a specifically Polish style.

News bites:-
Creative Producer Amble Skuse has been recognised by a nomination from PRSF for this year’s British Composer Awards for her new piece as part of the Remembered/Imagined programme.

NMC Recordings has released our live recording of Errollyn Wallen’s fabulous piece ‘Are you worried about the rising cost of funerals’. McFall’s performed the song cycle with soprano Susan Hamilton as part of the PRS for Music Foundation’s New Music Biennial project. Buy from only 79p!

Hungarian music resources

We have been very lucky at Distil to have had some amazing workshop leaders from all over the world. Twice Mihály Borbély has come over from Hungary to work with Scottish musicians. It’s always amazing to see him move with the music – all these different time signatures are so natural to him. Check out his website. I asked Mihály if he could send us some Hungarian music resources and here they are below. Have a look!

MAIN SITE for Institute for Musicology

The best subsites above that:

To listen Hungarian folk songs:

Bartók folk music collection:

Kallós folk music collection:

Some exceptional old recordings:

Distil Showcase 2014 – the music!

20140512-013557.jpgWell that was another great Distil Showcase! Congratulations to all the composers and Mr McFall’s Chamber (and soloists) who made the night so memorable. You can listen to the music below. The running order was:

  1. Pete Stewart: The road to Ae
  2. Tina Jordan Rees: Albert
  3. Gillian Fleetwood: Craft: part 2
  4. Tom Richardson: The Spaces Between
  5. Catriona  Macdonald: Norrœnn
  6. James Mackintosh: Eilean Fhionnan (The Green Isle)
  7. Matt Seattle: Theme for the Early Days of a Better Nation
  8. Jen Austin: Water
  9. Lori Watson:  Lowood 1
  10. Andrew Dunlop: Hoolie in Blue
  11. Catriona Price: Ness

Read more about the compositions here. Download the Distil Showcase 2014 programme.

Produced for Distil by Simon Thoumire and David Francis

Thanks to: Judith Walsh, Brian Schiele; Carolyn Paterson and all at the Tolbooth; all the Distil participants and mentors; Persephone Nichol-Bose; Creative Scotland.

Check out the photos from the concert.

Distil Scratch Band Day

Fill in the form below to take part in our inaugural Distil Scratch Band Day!

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Distil Showcase is nearly here!

20140429-135418.jpgOn Friday 9th May at 8pm Distil will host their 8th Showcase concert. The 2014 showcase will host 11 brand new compositions from traditional musicians and performed by the fabulous Mr McFall’s Chamber.

Since the first showcase concert Distil have commissioned over 80 new pieces of music and each year we are excited to discover more new music. The concert is held in Stirling’s Tolbooth and starts at 8pm. It is always an exciting experience for the audience and the composer and when we listen to brand new music being performed for the first time.

Simon Thoumire, Creative Director of Hands Up for Trad says “It’s amazing the creative talent in Scottish traditional music scene. Every year we hear exciting new ideas coming from musicians who have passed through our Distil project”

Buy your tickets here screen=ChooseSeats&WebInstanceId=distil

The 2014 composers are:

Jen Austin: Water
Andrew Dunlop: Hoolie in blue
Gillian Fleetwood: Craft: part 2
Catriona Macdonald: Norrœnn

  1. Jiganger
  1. Liten Bø Jente

James Mackintosh: Eilean Fhionnan (The Green Isle)
Catriona Price: Ness
Tina Jordan Rees: Albert
Tom Richardson: The spaces between
Matt Seattle: Theme for the early days of a better nation
Pete Stewart: The road to Ae
Lori Watson: Lowood

Tickets are available from Stirling Tolbooth

Mr McFall’s Chamber
Jackie Norrie (1st vln), Robert McFall (2nd vln), Brian Schiele (vla), Su-a Lee (vcl), Rick Standley (db)

Additional instrumentation:
Adam Sutherland, James Mackintosh, Andrew Dunlop, Jen Austin, Tom Richardson, Victoria Robertson, Matt Seattle, Callum Armstrong, Matthew MacLennan, Signy Jakobsdottir, Kaela Rowan, Lori Watson.

Red Note Ensemble Call for Scores – The Wagner Tuba

20140320-135323.jpgRed Note Ensemble have a Call for Scores for rather unusual instruments for their next Noisy Night, detailed below.

Submissions are welcomed by Red Note for scores written for an ensemble of 3 Wagner Tubas (1 tenor tuba, 2 bass tubas) for their Noisy Night on 5th May 2014 in City Halls, Glasgow. Deadline for submissions: 5pm on Monday 21st April 2014. Clearly the Wagner tuba is a slightly unusual instrument to write for, although much beloved by french horn players – so before settling down to compose your submission, please read the Wagner Tuba Crib Sheet (attached) written by horn player Andy Saunders. Andy will also be holding a Masterclass for Composers on writing for the Wagner Tuba in Glasgow in April – watch our Facebook and Twitter feeds for dates, venues and times. If you require any further information please contact [email protected] and we will put you in touch with Andy.

Distil Scratch Day 2014

IMG_1294On Tuesday 11th March we held our first Distil Scratch Day. It was suggested by composer Brian Irvine at our last Distil Residential that we should get together ahead of the Distil Showcase (Friday 9th May, Stirling Tolbooth) and chat to Mr McFall’s Chamber about the writing possibilities for string quintet.

IMG_129311 of us met in North Edinburgh Arts on Tuesday morning exited to learn what we would learn! Robert McFall had thought it all out. McFall’s started by playing one of the first string quartets written and they talked about how in many ways string quartets were for the enjoyment of the performers and not so much the audience. They showed us how all the musicians get their own lines and how the tune weaves its way across the quartet.

They covered many different techniques including comments that we should always write as difficult a bass part as possible for Rick Standley! We heard lots of beautiful music delivered with great sympathy and skill.

Thanks Mr McFall’s Chamber! I’m looking forward to the 2015 Scratch Day already!

Some feedback from the participants:

It’s very tempting to try and incorporate every one of the techniques discussed! [I'll resist] I will consider adding a doublebass part, which up till now I had not included. I will also be returning to the score and adding far more detailed performing instructions…

I feel more confident about notating my piece now. A lot of points have been brought to my attention which I hadn’t thought about before. I also have new ideas for bits of music in the composition just from talking about different ways of notating things.

Now have load of writing ideas to put into my piece and a better understanding of the quintet’s instruments and how to write it down

There are techniques I will use in my next piece of composition, but I also feel more relaxed about experimenting and breaking away from my usual techniques.

Hopefully I’ll have more confidence to write some lovely music

I plan to write more for string quartet/quintet, go back over the pieces previously composed in light of new info/experience and follow up some of the listening/score suggestions made by the players.

The day was very helpful. I didn’t have too much of an idea of what I was writing for before this day but now I’m feeling more confident and up for giving it a go!

Really really enjoyed it. Lovely relaxed atmosphere, but really informative and Inspiring- please do more :)

Thank you very much for organising it!

Thank you for organising the day. It was really good.

Keep doing it! Fabulous resource for musicians