Fuzzy picture of Simon during the concert The two maestroes...

On the evening of Tuesday 27th May 2003, there was a Concert of Instrumental Music played by the pupils of seven primary schools in the west of Edinburgh. All the pupils played stringed instruments - violin, viola, or 'cello. Each school group played one or two tunes, and they joined together to form full string orchestras. 

The music ranged from  old traditional songs like "Baa, Baa Black Sheep" and "Puff the Magic Dragon", through classics like "Rigadoon" by Purcell and "Lullaby" by Brahms, and into true Scottish classics like "Auld Lang Syne" and "Scotland the Brave".

We were fortunate to have two of the stars to give exclusive and personal recitations to this web site!! 

Our Arts correspondent reports ... 

Simon the Viola player

Simon Brand plays "Auld Lang Syne". 

"This song by Robert Burns is one of the best known and most often sung of all songs, and reminds us that Burns is as much the poet of friendship as of love. This song is now generally sung at the end of a convivial evening and at New Year the world over.

Of course Auld Lang Syne is more than a New Year's song. It is one of the great expressions of the tragic ambiguity of man's relation to time, which mixes memory with desire, carrying away old friendships and bringing new, turning childhood escapades into old men's recollections, making change the very condition of consciousness, and at the same time the creator and the destroyer of human experience. All this is done in the purest folk idiom, with no abstract statements or generalizations, except for the chorus itself, which states in simple but powerful terms the question that lies at the heart of so much human emotion". 

Simon's mastering of the complex fingering belies its complexity, to give a truly heart-warming  experience. 



Hear Simon play Auld Lang Syne


Adam the Viola player

Adam Brand plays "Rigadoon".

"Purcell was one of the greatest composers of the Baroque period. He was born in London in 1659, and he died in Westminster Abbey in 1695 from natural causes. He had six children and he was married in 1681. There was no record of him travelling.

Purcell learned his music in Westminster in 1679. While he was there he was a choirboy, he tuned instruments and he was a private pupil of Matthew Lock and John Blow. He wrote music for the church, and for the theatres. He was a chorister in the Chapel Royal. He made organs and kept them for the king. He was an appointed composer-in-ordinary for the King's Violins.

In addition to the lilting 'Rigadoon', he also wrote 'Dido and Aeneas', 'Strike the Viol', 'Sarabande', and 'Air and Corant in G'."

Listen to Adam giving full expression to this difficult piece.


Hear Adam play "Rigadoon"