British Composers Project


Hugh Shrapnel Recent News (September 2000)


This year Hugh has been a frequent to Scotland where he has taken part in several very successful concerts and workshops in and near Edinburgh. These have been put on by musician friends of Hugh's - Scottish composers Eddie McGuire and Ronald Stevenson and the teacher, pianist, accordionist and specialist in the Suzuki method and oral tradition in music Mary McCarthy. As composer and performer Hugh has participated in several workshops put on by Mary for her classes.

In June, Hugh played a selection of his piano pieces and was joined by Mary McCarthy in 3 pieces from his 'South of the River' Suite at a concert put on by Colin Kingsley at the Edinburgh Society of Musicians. The concert also included piano music by the contemporary Serbian composers Vassily Mokranjac, Miroslav Statkic and Zoran Hristic played by Mary McCarthy and music for flute and piano by Messiaen and Roussel. This very varied programme was very well received by the audience members of whom, following the old tradition of the Society, came up to the performers and asked interesting (and sometimes searching!) questions.

In July Hugh took part in the Ronald Stevenson Symposium at Garvald near Edinburgh. The focal point of this annual event this year was a series of piano worshops on Stevenson's monumental piano work 'Passacaglia on DSCH'. This epic piece, with its powerful anti-fascist and progressive humanitarian content is undoubtedly one of the key works of our time. The Symposium covered a wide range of music including Grainger, Busoni and neglected and interesting Scottish composers such as Erik Chisholm and Francis George Scott. The Symposium was notable for the many excellent and very relevant discussions on musical interpretation and wider issues such as the necessity for new music to oppose the increasing dehumanisation of so many aspects of the world today. Hugh took part in the 2 concerts over the weekend playing Ladywell Fields (from 'South of the River') with Mary McCarthy and the recent solo piece Fromewater which were very well received.

In August, with the help of Mary McCarthy and Eddie McGuire, Hugh mounted a concert of his music at the Edinburgh Society of Musicians. The concert included Burns and Edward Thomas song cycles performed by Richard Churches and Robert Coleridge; 3 movements from South of the River performed by Mary Mccarthy and the composer; solo piano pieces performed by Ruth Dean and Robert Coleridge and the flute and piano piece Unity performed by Eddie McGuire and Mary McCarthy. Three of Mary's pupils, Sarah Boyne, Mary Stevenson and Maria Falzone played piano music by Ronald Stevenson and Eddie McGuire; the Scottish communist poet John Maharg read some of his verse, his satire on the Duke of Edinburgh and his Love Sonnets of a Building Worker being particularly well received. The concert, which played to a packed house, was overall a great success.

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