I’m Back
After a far too long absence -- almost 8 months of inactivity -- I decided to tart this back up. Wow! what a year it has been.,,took the family to Scotland for a 2-week vacation back in August (see my front page and listen to my new work for orchestra!) and then life got in the way of updating this blog. But I sis get a new work for orchestra written in that time (again see the front page!)
Scotland has been a tremendous inspiration for me over the past several years. And the trip this past summer was no exception. Kilmartin Glen in Argyll has been most illuminating. Located near the west coast of Scotland, it has one of the most important concentrations of Neolithic and Bronze Age remains in Scotland.
There are more than 350 ancient monuments within a six-mile radius of the village, with 150 of them being prehistoric. Monuments include standing stones, a henge monument, numerous cists, and a "linear cemetery" comprising five burial cairns. Several of these, as well as many natural rocks, are decorated with cup and ring marks. A great article on Kilmartin Glen can be found at:
Kilmartin Glen  - A Sculpture in Stones is a tone poem for orchestra based on the archeological pre-history and the recorded history of the people and the land in and around the village of Kilmartin, Argyll, Scotland. While the work is not specifically programmatic, the music is evocative of certain historic events and individuals. The “voices” of the land and its people can be heard throughout the work in the use of characteristic percussion and authentic folk melodies.
The work is divided into several sections each highlighting an important aspect of the history of the area:
Muir Éireann
Dál Riata
Nether Largie
Temple Wood
a.    Cenél Loairn
b.    Cenél nÓengusa
c.    Cenél nGabráin
Áedán mac Gabráin and the Battle of Degsastan
Cináed mac Ailpín and the revival of the Kingdom of Dál Riata
There is no chronology implied in the order of the sections. Likewise, no historical connection between the three Cenéls or kindreds (Loairn, nÓengusa, nGabráin) and the pagan religious site of Temple Wood is implied. However, in the 6th century, at the time of the Cenéls, Christianity was only just beginning to be evangelized in the person of St. Columba. It is doubtful that it would have spread throughout the people in this area of Scotland. In light of this, it is possible that Temple Wood would have still been in use as a location for druid-like religious ceremonies.
The triple-meter melody in the Temple Wood section of Kilmartin Glen is based on an authentic ancient Scottish melody which research indicates* was used as a “charm to stop a hail storm.” Melodies such as this would have been heard in prehistoric times in and around Temple Wood during religious ceremonies.
Again, please go to my front page and listen to this piece. And tell your friends about it.
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Tuesday, January 12, 2010