Cairngorms Traverse (Symphony)

Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
48 minutes
Modern classical music
Instrumental parts
Not available

This is a program symphony describing impressions and thoughts of a crossing of the Cairngorms, a bulky mountain range in the Highlands of Scotland. It runs without a break, as do the mountains, for a very long time. Crossings are all-day affairs, on foot, sharing the fresh air with the wildlife and sudden views of deep valleys. Gales blow up in minutes, and fall away equally quickly. Night time, if you are caught out, is vast and deep, the aurora perhaps illuminating a nocturnal fox. The influence of people on the hills goes back generations, and has been recently influenced by mechanisation and commercialism. All these elements are swept up in a final fanfare, the long walk home from the hills where I live and work.

Although technically not difficult, the music demands concentration and a very long play without retuning for the strings. As such, I have graded it as a work for professional orchestra with top quality instruments that will hold their tune. Solo parts for violin and flute are particularly demanding. The sixteen themes and melodies in this work are also available in scaled-down arrangements.


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