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Scottish Chamber Orchestra with Duncan McTier

Edinburgh: Queen's Hall, Thu 11 Mar; Glasgow: City Hall, Fri 12 Mar.

it may be big, but as orchestral instruments go, the double bass is one of the shyest. it can usually be found cowering tiinidly in Instrumental tuttis, but there is one man determined to coax the double bass into the spotlight.

Duncan McTier is a soloist who, along wrth the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, is about to premiere a new double bass concerto by Robin Holloway. McTier came to the double bass which he describes as 'very cuddly’ ~ in his early teens, and is quick to deny that there are few pieces written for the instrument.

'The double bass repertoire is enormous there are hundreds of concertos, but not very many written by well-known composers, so that’s why the bass doesn’t have a terribly high profile,’ says McTier. 'lt’s also qurte large to carry around.’

In an effort to raise the profile of the double bass, which he describes as an ’uphill struggle', McTier has had a number of works specially written for him by such eminent composers as Sir Peter Maxwell Dawes, John Casken

9 and Derek Bourgeois

The Holloway piece promises to

At the double: Duncan McTier

reveal yet further secrets of what this affectionately regarded instrument has to offer. Although the concerto has been shaped by the composer’s love of Schumann, there are other influences.

’The second movement is very Jazzy,’ says McTier. ’Actually, the whole thing is very catchy and We really QDJOYEd working on it.’ (Carol Main)

FOLK Harp And Soul

5 Glasgow: Royal Concert Hall, Mon 8 lvlar.

The small harp or clarsach is undergoing a huge contemporary reVival in Scotland The instrument is the focus of Harp And SOuI, a major

Glasgow concert by six of its finest

exponents all women.

Wire-string speCIalist lvlary

MacMaster is based in Edinburgh and I Will play wrth Corrina Hewat in an adventurous {Win harp-and-vocal duo.

She talks through the merits of her fellow performers.

'CUI Jun Zhi plays the Chinese harp

: though she's based in California and ; she's j MacMaster. 'The instruments got two 5 parallel rows of strings played With the 5 fingers, then there's three l:tt|e ; plectrums hanging down on cords. She’ll suddenly pick one up and start . whapping strings. The strings are connected so she can press on one

JUSI amazrng,’ enthuses

.‘l A‘ 'L

Mary MacMaster

Harp attack:

string and bend notes on another.’

If you think that two rows are diffiCult, wait till you see, and hear, LliO Rhydderech.

’She plays the Welsh triple harp, With three rows, making a uniquely beautiful sound,’ says MacMaster. 'It’s really interesting that she’s been taught from an unbroken oral tradition. She can trace her teachers, and their teachers, back for centuries'

It’s little wonder that MacMaster is so exerted by the Harp And SOLil line-up The thirteen date British tour is promoted by Newcastle-based arts organisation Folkwoiks from an idea by Patsy Secldon, Mary’s long term musical partner, and has allowed them tO bring together some of their favourite players,

Completing the line-up, Brittany's ear- Opening Kirsten Nogues weaves in and out of her traditional Breton idiom, and then there’s the irrepressible Laoise Kelly, a member of Ireland's all-women band the Bumblehees (Norman Chalmers)