Exciting new piece to be performed at Haddo

Haddo House
Haddo House

A new piece ‘The Tower’ by Abigail Sinar will be performed at Haddo House next Tuesday (June 6).

The commission was devised by Drake Music Scotland’s Artistic Director Pete Sparkes with Abigail Sinar, who is based in the north-east and is also a Drake Music Scotland Associate Musician.

The inspiration for the piece is Kinnaird Head Castle in Fraserburgh and its Wine Tower, with the famous ‘Piper’s Cave’ below, the scene of a well-known local story.

‘The Tower’ was composed with the intention of adding to the repertoire of inclusive music for the accessible technologies used by pupils with disabilities taking part in DMS projects.

The alternative instruments are designed to make it possible for those with disabilities to play and perform on an equal footing with their peers, who are in this instance musicians from Sharon Hassan’s North East Folk Collective on fiddles, pipes, whistle, guitar, cajon and accordion.

The inspiration for the piece is Kinnaird Head Castle in Fraserburgh and its Wine Tower, with the famous ‘Piper’s Cave’ below, the scene of a well-known local story.

“The folklore associated with the site includes the famous tale of a piper who drowned after being imprisoned by a lord who was angry at him for falling in love with his daughter. Legend has it that in the Piper’s Cave, as it is known, the piper can still be heard playing while he searches for his lost love,” recalls Abi.

“Sir Alexander Fraser had a daughter called Isobel who he didn’t let mix with local people. When her father was away on business she took in a stranger, a piper, who was seeking shelter from a snowstorm. They got to talking late into the night and when he left in the morning, they knew they had fallen in love.

“They would meet in secret, but unfortunately Sir Alexander found out and forbade them to meet. The couple arranged another tryst but Sir Alexander chained the piper in a cave below the Tower.

“Unfortunately a storm swept the sea into the cave, drowning her lover... The cave thereafter became known as The Piper’s Cave and legend says that he can still be heard playing for Isobel whenever a storm gathers.”

The project is designed to involve all pupils allowing each player to have some creative input.

“Each of the schools we are working with on this project has an iconic local castle, four of which are right on the coast, so hopefully the story resonates in some way with all the participants,” Abi explains.

The story is both the inspiration and structural basis for the piece, with each school performing one movement based on a unique part of the story, exploring a different mood or emotion such as: ‘A Castle by the Sea’, ‘The Bonny Lass o’ the Broch’, ‘Sir Fraser’s Return’, ‘Stormy Waters’, and ‘The Piper’s Lament’. The final part ‘Where the Lighthouse Stands’ is a more modern and upbeat piece, bringing the story up to the current day where the castle has now been turned into Kinnaird Head Lighthouse, with the original Wine Tower still standing in the grounds.

Drake Music Scotland and Aberdeenshire Council’s Music Service acknowledge the support of Creative Scotland’s Youth Music Initiative and also receives Creative Scotland Regular Funding.

Its schools programme is also supported by the Henry Duncan Awards, The Rayne Foundation and The Robertson Trust.

The piece will be performed at 12.45pm.