The Rally at the 1983 Mod (SFO Podcast)

This edition of the podcast focuses on a television performance from 1983.

The Scottish Fiddle Orchestra has its roots in fiddlers’ rallies, so it is fitting that we should highlight a concert which featured a sizeable proportion of SFO members.

This 40-minute recording was originally broadcast live on BBC 1 television at 10pm on 08 October 1983.

The performance includes jigs, reels, marches, a Strathspey, polkas and Highland Schottisches, as well as 3 songs by Mary Sandeman,

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SFO Podcast – a night in Inverurie

This podcast features snippets from the SFO’s concert at Inverurie Town Hall in September 2019.

Podcast 2 – The SFO at Inverurie – September 2019

The following music and song is featured:

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Scottish Fiddle Orchestra Podcast

Press ‘Play’ to listen:

Podcast 1 – Half-time chat at Perth 2020 and Hogmanay Show 1981

NOTE: The above audio is in mp3 format and is also downloadable, if you wish to listen at a time when you may not have a reliable internet connection. Other devices are available but, on a PC, for example, if you right-click on the 3 vertical dots at the right side of the audio player, the drop-down menu should offer the option to “Save as…”

In this Podcast, we look back to the recent past and the distant past in SFO terms.

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Songs of Scotland with the SFO

Scottish Fiddle Orchestra concerts include fiddle music. But we have a host of other instruments besides violins.

Cellos, Double Basses, Flutes, Accordion, Percussion, Piano – sometimes Organ too – and, last but not least, the Human Voice.

At the foot of this article, you will find a video clip of the SFO accompanying one of our good friends and regular singing guests, Colette Ruddy.

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The Gay Gordons with the SFO

Virtually all SFO concerts begin with a tune in March tempo.

The very first SFO concert at Aberdeen Music Hall on 22 March 1980 opened with John Mason’s ‘Patrol’ March “Fiddlers to the Fore”.

The most popular Scottish dance with march-time backing is The Gay Gordons. Ceilidhs will often begin with this dance because it’s medium-paced and a fairly gentle introduction to proceedings which will probably become a bit more frenetic as the evening wears on.

Some SFO concerts feature a ‘take the floor’ section for audience and orchestra members.

The video clip below shows dancing of The Gay Gordons, accompanied by the tune “Goodbye Dolly” from the SFO’s “Songs the Nation Sings” set.

Audience dancing to “Goodbye Dolly” from the SFO’s “Songs the Nation Sings” set (Note some empty seats in the band too!)

P.S. Please consider making a donation to the SFO’s Just Giving Appeal.

Singing and dancing with the SFO

Would you be up for dancing at an SFO concert?

The short video below features “The Wild Rover”, part of a set of Sing-Along Waltzes we like to play at a regular point in our concert programme where we invite the audience (along with some members of the orchestra) to take the floor.

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A Tribute to J. Scott Skinner

James Scott Skinner (1843-1927), “The Strathspey King” was born in Banchory.

He started his young musical career playing violincello for his elder brother, Sandy, and later for the celebrated Aberdeen fiddler and teacher Peter Milne.

At a still early age, he became part of a young group – “Dr Mark’s Little Men” – in which he received a most thorough classical training during tours throughout the United Kingdom.

On his return to the north east, whilst still in his late teens, he embarked upon a career in music.

Skinner was known as a dancing master, concert performer on violin and prolific composer.

He wrote some of the most beautiful airs, marches, lively Strathspeys and exciting reels ever composed in this idiom – music which has maintained its influence and popularity since his death in 1927.

In programme notes written by the SFO’s original Musical Director, John Mason, John described the March, Strathspey and Reel set of “Compliments to Dr. MacDonald”, “The Laird o’ Drumblair” and “Davie Work” as “probably the most powerful and popular of Skinner’s tunes”.

  • The first is dedicated to Dr. MacDonald the Collector of so much Scottish music.
  • The second (and arguably the most famous Strathspey ever composed) to William F. McHardy who owned the estate of Drumblair and who accorded Skinner one of his cottages during a particularly difficult time in Skinner’s life. (Incidentally, Skinner also dedicated his other great Strathspey “The Iron Man” – and other compositions – to McHardy who had made his fortune in railroads).
  • Davie Work was an Orcadian fiddler who settled in Glasgow and became the founder of the Glasgow Caledonian Strathspey and Reel Society over 100 years ago.

The short video below features clips from each of the three tunes.

SFO concerts generally feature at least one March, Strathspey and Reel set. Often, it is a celebration of the music of J. Scott Skinner, who is arguably the most important composer in the history of Scottish Fiddle Music.

P.S. Please consider making a donation to the SFO’s Just Giving Appeal.

The Rose of Galloway (Galloway Rose)

Rose of Galloway is a composition by John Mason for orchestra and pipes.

At the foot of this post, you will find a short video clip of a Scottish Fiddle Orchestra (plus pipe band) concert performance of this stirring piece of music.

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A Grand Night in Glasgow (SFO DVD)

The SFO’s DVD – A Grand Night in Glasgow – Recorded September 2018.

One of the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra’s annual Glasgow concerts took place at the iconic Royal Concert Hall on 15 September 2018.

A video recording of the concert has been released on DVD in September 2019.

Members of the orchestra had warmed up with an impromptu “pop-up” concert on the steps of the concert hall, before their rehearsal that afternoon.

This DVD captures some of the highlights from the SFO’s main evening concert and you can purchase a copy via this website.

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A new era in digital downloads for SFO music

Violin on its side with one F-hole visible

As we reported in December 2018, we have been going through the process of making the orchestra’s self-produced recordings available for digital download.

Historically, SFO recordings have been released through REL but – with the growth of digital downloads and online streaming – it has gradually become possible for us to consider releases which are more under our own control.

The two most recent SFO CDs are now available for purchase as downloads via iTunes or Amazon Music.

The flexibility of this format means you can either choose to download the whole album or you can select individual tracks, if you prefer. [Read more…]