Lochardil Dances (Saxophone Quartet / Quintet)

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For a couple of years, Dad and I enjoyed having our main holiday in the UK - airport hassle had just got intolerable!

Our favorite hotel - in the Highlands of Scotland - was the Best Western Lochardil House Hotel, owned by Eileen Fraser and Graeme MacBean. It’s a lovely family-run hotel just outside Inverness, so we were able to drive right up to John O’Groats and the Isle of Skye with ease!

The night we arrived, after we’d had a meal in their excellent dining room, there was a traditional wedding party going on next door - with a typical band and everyone kitted out in their kilts - the men, that is! It was really exhilarating, just to stand and listen for a few minutes!

I vowed that, on our return, I would celebrate our lovely stay there with my own musical tribute to the hotel, and, more importantly, the people of Scotland and their lovely country itself.

I have linked a traditional Strathspey with a faster Reel, both from my own original material. There’s just a little real Scottish snippet during the last four bars!

While I haven’t tried to be exact, the use of pentatonic scales, the occasional drone, and some ornaments - to suggest the ’gracing’ of the pipes - hopefully recreates what we felt and heard on our first night there. We did re-visit them, before Dad passed away at the ripe old age of 95, and this tune still brings many many happy (and, of course, sad) memories. Initially I started with a Piano-Duet version, but have brought out some other instrumental combinations, as I’ve done in the past! This version for Saxophone Quartet / Quintet is the latest!

As with virtually my saxophone arrangements, the piece can be played as Quartet, or the Alto Sax (Optional) part added, when it then functions as a Quintet. It works either way, though 5 real parts are always better than 4!

Score ID
Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
4 minutes
Quintet of Soprano Saxophones
World music

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