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Ceol Mor : for violin, clarinet and piano

by Charles Bodman Rae (2012)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by Elizabeth Layton, Peter Handsworth, Stefan Ammer from the CD Ceol Mor

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Ceol Mor


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Ceol Mor / Charles Bodman Rae.

Library shelf no. CD 2356 [Available for loan]

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Work Overview

There are two kinds of gaelic instrumental music: Ceol Beag, and Ceol Mor. The first refers to the lighter forms, such as dance music (reels, strathspeys and so forth). The second, meaning 'the great music', refers to the more austere yet emotionally expressive medium of the Piobeareachd ('Pibroch' in lowland Scots and English). The Piobeareachd is usually a lament for the departed, with a title such as 'Lament for Duncan MacRae of Kintail'. They are usually solo bagpipe pieces, in the form of theme and variations. But the tradition may have originated on the clarsach (celtic harp). They are also played on the violin. This Piobeareachd is a tribute to the passing of the composer's father, John Rae, who died at the end of November 2011. The tribute acknowledges his Scottish birth, highland heritage, and final resting place at Clachan Duich in Kintail. The work uses an original theme (Urlar) followed by four variations which elaborate and greatly expand the range of the melody. There are some stylistic cues from the bagpipe tradition, such as interlocking lydian and mixolydian modes, and ornamentation of single or multiple grace notes which are crushed in before main notes of the melody. There are drones, of course, but they do not stay on one note or in one key. The intended tone of the work is elegiac rather than funereal.

Work Details

Year: 2012

Instrumentation: Clarinet (in A), piano, violin.

Duration: 10 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Dedication note: Dedicated to the memory of the composer's father, John Rae (1928-2011)

Written for: Stefan Ammer, Elizabeth Layton, Peter Handsworth

Commission note: Commissioned for the 2012 Adelaide Festival of Arts

First performance: by Elizabeth Layton, Peter Handsworth, Stefan Ammer at The Festival @ LUNCH (Elder Hall) on 14 Mar 2012


Performances of this work

14 Mar 2012: at The Festival @ LUNCH (Elder Hall). Featuring Elizabeth Layton, Peter Handsworth, Stefan Ammer.

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