Violinist Anthony Marwood will be concertmaster and soloist in the first set of New Century Chamber Orchestra concerts this season, and in one of the works on the program he’ll share the stage with accordion soloist James Crabb. It’s a piece called Seavaigers by composer Sally Beamish, originally written for fiddle, Celtic harp and strings, reworked for this combination of instruments. There’s also music by Peteris Vasks and Antonin Dvorak on the program.
You can find out more about the concerts at the New Century Chamber Orchestra website.
“I’ve known Sally [Beamish] for many many years,” Marwood says. “I think it‘s actually 30 years ago, she moved to Scotland, and made her home there, and really kind of absorbed her environment, and was very influenced by this extraordinarily beautiful and culturally rich country where she made her home.” He and Beamish played chamber music together, and she wrote a violin concerto for him many years ago. She’s also been friends with James Crabb for many years. “We had the idea, she’d already written this marvelous concerto for Shetland fiddle, Scottish harp and strings, but she and James cooked up the idea that it could be rearranged for violin and accordion. It works absolutely wonderfully, it’s kind of a bit of a different piece. The sound of the accordion, it’s a bit like – I think james described it as exchanging the sound of the angels, the Celtic harp, for the sound of the devil, which is the accordion…” So this iteration of Seavaigers was created, which refers to sea voyages. “You certainly, from a sonic point of view, you have this large canvas, this large painting with a lot of activity, a lot of different things happening in the painting at the same time, you know, in a very kind of visceral and exciting way… The beginning of the piece is a kind of evocation of the landscape, perhaps before the journey happens. But the journey is undertaken with this sort of balance of great joy and abandon and a certain amount of danger as well.” Marwood says like the other two works on the program, it has an authentic folk sound, despite being an original composition. “She’s created these very Scottish sounding themes, but they’re imaginings in her own head. In the way that actually Peteris Vasks does something similar in his concerto, and Dvorak does in his Serenade. There is very much a link, this idea of folk music that great composers actually make up their own versions of these things.”