• Sally Beamish
  • The Caledonian Road (1997)

  • Peters Edition Limited (World)

Commissioned and first performed by Glasgow Chamber Orchestra, Glasgow 1998.

  • 2(II:pic).2.2.2/
  • 15 min

Programme Note

The title has a double significance for me. I was brought up in Islington, North London, and our nearest shops were in the Caledonian Road (or the ‘Cally’ as it was known locally). Trips to spend pocket money, to the pet shop, the swimming baths, and later to the station to get to school, all centred around the Cally.

It only struck me recently that this was in fact the road north; the road to Scotland.

In 1997 I wrote a short horn trio using fragments from the St Andrews Music Book, and sounds of ancient bells and horns. In Caledonian Road I have developed this material further; using variation form marked by bell-like resonances within an orchestral texture, and exploring the open intervals of horn calls and plain chant.

This piece is on the one hand a tapestry inspired by the rich spiritual heritage of Scotland, and on the other a reference to my own musical pilgrimage along the ‘Caledonian Road’.

The work was commissioned by the Glasgow Chamber Orchestra and Glasgow Caledonian University with subsidy from the Scottish Arts Council.

The composer gratefully acknowledges generous assistance from the Scottish Arts Council and the Hinrichsen Foundation towards the preparation of performing material.