Plateau of Dances with a Scottish Flavor
Composed by Alexandra Lehmann
For flute and alto flute (optional piano/keyboard/guitar chords)
Published by Forton Music
1st Movement: 'To the Mighty Haggis' (Strathspey)
2nd Movement: 'The Humble Shortbread' (Reel)
3rd Movement 'Ode to the Homely (salty) Porridge' (Air)
4th Movement: 'Too Many Drams of Whisky' (Jig)
'Plateau of Dances with a Scottish Flavour'
Plateau of Dances with a Scottish Flavour was composed in autumn 2016, Eastborune, and is inspired by my childhood in Doune, Perthshire; as well as the Ceilidhs and Fèis (cultural festival in the Highlands) my daughter, Clara, and I were immersed in when we lived in the picturesque village of Kingussie, Badenoch and Strathspey. The four dances are a celebration of my love and nostalgia for Scotland, and an expression of my family's Scottish memories. Each dance comes with a quote from my favourite poet, Robert Burns, whose insightful and sensitive observations are a poignant appreciation of everyday life. Why the reference to Scottish food? Because this piece is dedicated to my father, Papou, who appreciates a merry supper.
The 1st Movement, 'To the Mighty Haggis', is a Strathspey with its characteristic Scotch snap -a short-long rhythm, as if saying the word 'haggis'; which is fitting as the Scottish bard's quote comes from his poem Address to a Haggis, traditionally said on Burns' Night.
The 2nd Movement, 'The Humble Shortbread', is a Reel; as is usually the case in Scottish dances. It should be played with a slightly 'snappy', swung rhythm. 'What though on homely fare we dine, […] A man is a man for all that' comes from my favourite Burns' poem: A Man's a Man for A' That. And who doesn't enjoy the humble shortbread?
There is a more reflective, nostalgic mood to the 3rd Movement, 'Ode to the Homely (salty) Porridge'. The Air is a reminiscence of the quiet evenings Clara and I would spend in Kingussie, with our view of the beautifully haunting mountains. 'What will I get to my supper, […] Ye'se get a panfu' o' plumpin parridge' comes from Burns' The Shepherd's Wife who tries to entice her husband back home with the promise of porridge (the Scottish way: with salt).
Finally, the 4th Movement, 'Too Many Drams of Whisky', is a cheerful and lively Jig. It's the convivial merriness of being with friends and family, maybe at a Ceilidh, with a wink to Scotland's 'water of life'. 'We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, For auld lang syne' comes from Burns' famous Auld Lang Syne: a fitting end to our musical and culinary tour of Scotland.