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Music for you to play and sing … from Nigel Don

New lease of life for the Cello Quartet … and get the music free!

First played in Aberdeenshire’s Castle Fraser, the Cello Quartet which Nigel composed in 1992 is now available for download. Written for the Cello Consort, it was subsequently recorded by Cello Spice – the recording is still available from Divine Art [http://www.divineartrecords.com/CD/25002info.htm].

Reviews were favourable … “a romantic and occasionally witty work” said ‘Moore’ and Martin Anderson described it as “discreet, though with a hint of warm humour.”

Nigel has made the score and the individual parts available online for download and printing. But there’s a bonus.

“I also have some printed copies”, says Nigel, “and I will send these free of charge to anyone who will wants to play them – just email me” (address below) …

Nigel’s music in an “eclectic mix” at Tonic Solway’s Spring Concert

The 'a cappella' vocal octet Tonic Solway performed an eclectic mix of short pieces encompassing sacred and secular, madrigal and folk, classical and jazz, traditional and modern idioms. Entry will be free; however donations will be sought from the audience to raise funds for MacMillan Cancer Support.

Tonic Solway, formed in 2011, has performed a number of concerts for charitable causes and sung several Choral Evensongs at St. Mary's and Greyfriars, Kirkcudbright. The octet consists of Alice Howdle and Vanessa Martin (Sopranos), Susan Smyth and Pauline Roe (Altos), David Potter and Donald Henry (Tenors) and David Howdle and Andy McKean (Basses).

The “eclectic mix” includes Nigel’s settings of the Polar Bear, the Lion and the Tiger by Hilaire Belloc, and the Giraffe by John Jay Bell.

The concert was on 9 June in St Ninian's Church, Newton Stewart. You can contact Tonic Solway via “encore” at https://joinencore.com/Tonic-Solway

Ombersley at Leith St Andrews Church

Edinburgh’s Capital Concert Band performed Nigel’s arrangement of the hymn tune “Ombersley” at a Songs of Praise style event on Sunday June 4th at Leith St Andrews Church. Ombersley is sometimes used for “Lord of All Being, throned afar”.

The arrangement is for wind band. Nigel says, “A wind band is effectively a military band in instrumental composition though there are lots of thoroughly civilian ones. I play in the Capital Concert Band myself, and I plan to produce more items for this combination of instruments over the next year or two.

“Further ahead there’s a vocal concert in Newton Stewart in a couple of weeks (see below) and I’m expecting my string septet to be played in Dundee Chaplaincy Centre at a Friday lunchtime concert in September.”

Dundee Chamber Ensemble tackles Nigel Don’s String Septet

Dundee Chamber Ensemble will perform composer Nigel Don’s “A Dance Suite for String Septet” In Dundee University’s Bonar Hall on 22 September.

Two violins, two violas, two cellos and a double bass will bring ‘resonant bass textures’ to the first public performance of this suite, which is just under half an hour in length.

Nigel Don was formerly a local piano teacher and a conductor of the Dundee University orchestra. He will be there in person for the performance.

He said, “Composers like nothing better than hearing their music played, and I really appreciate the help I have had from Dundee Chamber Ensemble. Together we have prepared this Suite for performance, and I think the audience will enjoy it.”

The five movements include a waltz in three time - most of the time. The composer has added in some extra beats, and skipped one or two. Dancers beware!

There is also a cello ‘ceilidh piece’, a gentle slow section and a rumbustious finale.

The Ensemble is led for this performance by Stephen Spackman on violin. He will be joined by Toby Lipman, violin; Angela Green and Elspeth O'Riordan, violas; Nicola Chakraverty and Graham Leicester, cellos; and Louise Major, bass. All the players are also members of Dundee Symphony Orchestra.

Commenting, Stephen Spackman said, ""Its always a pleasure and a privilege to work towards the first performance of new music - particularly when the composer is a friend and so clearly concerned with audience appreciation."

Nigel Don added, “The combination of two violins, two violas, two cellos and a double bass is unusual though not unprecedented. The relatively low centre of gravity of the instruments allows very resonant bass textures but also means that the higher registers of the violas and cellos are exploited. All in all it’s a more varied sound palate than is normally experienced with a conventional string orchestra.”

“The Dance Suite for String Septet” will be performed on Friday 22 September 2017 at 13.20 in the Ustinov Room of the Bonar Hall, University of Dundee. The concert is part of the Dundee University Lunchtime Recital Series, run by the Director of Music Graeme Stevenson.

Listings for the Recital Series are at … https://www.dundee.ac.uk/music/events/lunchtimeconcertseries/

Ayr … Performance of Nigel’s work …

Monday 4 December 2017 at 19.30 in Ayr Town Hall; the Trevelyan Suite will be played by Ayrshire Symphony Orchestra conducted by John Wilson.

Full house for String Septet

Every seat was taken in the the Ustinov Room at Dundee University’s Bonar Hall for the first performance of Nigel Don’s String Septet.

Dundee Chamber Ensemble coped admirably with some last minute refinements to the music, and the audience showed its appreciation of the music and the performance.

Ensemble leader Stephen Spackman led the ensemble expertly and Nigel thanked him for his help and guidance in preparing the piece for performance. Nigel is pictured after the performance.

Trevelyan Suite in Ayr Town Hall

Pictured is John Wilson conducting the Ayr Symphony Orchestra playing Nigel’s Trevelyan Suite on 4 December 2017. John and Nigel met at the Edinburgh Festival a year or two ago. Conductors need composers and composers need orchestras, so they agreed to collaborate and this performance was the result. (Pic - thanks to Renee Martin-Nagle)

Pictured left are John Wilson and Nigel Don.

John took up the baton with the Ayrshire Symphony Orchestra for the 1992/93 season.

He studied French Horn and pianoforte at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama where he worked under a number of eminent conductors. His early orchestral experience was further enhanced while as a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland.