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Scenes and Stories for Piano

Bennachie is a suite for piano taking inspiration from the eponymous hill that is so prominent in the relatively flat, fertile lands of east Aberdeenshire. The hill is prominent, not just in topographical terms, but also that it has such a rich and established cultural and historical legacy that embraces myth, legend and real, visceral events that have shaped the land and the people that live in its lee. Bennachie was commissioned by the Baillies of Bennachie (a charity that not only seeks to preserve the natural environs of the hill, but also to encourage interest in its cultural and historical past) for their 50th anniversary to engender further interest in the hill and to contribute to the existing artistic legacy associated with it.

Scenes and Stories for Piano

Scenes and Stories for Piano (Audio Only)

Bennachie is subtitled ‘scenes and stories’ and consists of six episodes from the hill’s colourful history. The work is aimed at beginner to intermediate players and aims to provide them with vivid and arresting short pieces, each trying to catch a different aspect of Bennachie’s cultural history. The opening piece, ‘Hill of Foxes’ takes the English translation of one of the three prominent peaks of the hill (Craigshannoch) as the impetus for a spirited depiction of fox cubs playing on the hillside. The second, the evocatively titled ‘Gouk Stane’ relates to a standing stone on the hill that has connotations of the arrival of spring (‘Gouk’ is Scots for cuckoo) and the first calls of the bird that suggest the end of winter. This is followed by ‘Hosie’s Well’, a simple tune suggesting the heartache of a local man who’s intended bride married elsewhere when he did not return from war. The fourth piece depicts a mossy promontory famed for its peat cutting and averons (‘cloudberries’), with the fifth, ‘Westland Wallace’ a reverent memorial for a plan crash on Bennachie which took the lives of two young servicemen on the very first day of the UK’s involvement in WWII. The final piece is a rumbustious representation of Jock o’Bennachie, a giant who lives on the hill and is famed for throwing rocks at another giant for the love of a local woman.

Read more by downloading Scenes and Stories for Piano (PDF).

Also see Celebrating 50 Years Of The Bailies of Bennachie for our other projects.

Please also see our other Projects information.

Phillip A. Cooke
Phillip A. Cooke
Scenes and Stories for Piano (PDF)