'Music for String Quartet, Piano & Celeste'
Featuring musicians from the renowned Scottish Ensemble
CD, Digital and Limited Edition 12” White Vinyl LP – Monday 30th March 2015
“Sublime, minimal classical music” (CLASSIC FM)
Scottish BAFTA-nominated composer and songwriter Francis Macdonald drums with Teenage Fanclub and has worked with a range of artists, including: Alex Chilton, Dan Penn, The Pastels, Kevin Ayers, Kate Rusby, Edwyn Collins, Ian McCulloch, BMX Bandits, Belle & Sebastian, Cairn String Quartet and Max Richter.
Made with the help of a grant from Creative Scotland, “Music For String Quartet, Piano & Celeste” is an album of minimalist contemporary music informed by Francis’s work in TV and film soundtracks and influenced by key musical figures such as Philip Glass, Ennio Morricone and Arvo Pärt. Macdonald also cites the inspiration of fellow Glasgow-based composer Malcolm Lindsay who, like Francis, did not formally study classical music.
The album was recorded at Mogwai’s Castle Of Doom studio, Glasgow (because Francis liked their piano) and features a quartet drawn from the esteemed Scottish Ensemble, formed in Glasgow in 1969. It was recorded and mixed by Iain Hutchison (Julie Fowlis, Transatlantic Sessions) and mastered by Stefano Barzan (Ludovico Einaudi) in Milan. Francis played piano and a celeste hired from RSNO. The album cover photo was taken at Hardangerfjord, Norway during a Teenage Fanclub tour.
“This album was a bit of a challenge to myself”, says Francis; “As a listener I came quite late to classical music and I have no formal training, but I didn’t want to use an arranger or orchestrator. I wanted to be responsible for every note.”
1. Playful – the rich sound of the cello and viola playing sustained two note chords gave me goose bumps when we started recording this.
2. 20 Sep – I think my drummer’s coordination helped me come up with the main piano arpeggio.
3. January Waltz – Many moons ago I played in a school folk group writing tunes with the great John McCusker. Maybe this melody has a hint of Scots trad music.
4. At A Remove – originally written for a film project that never came to pass, I reworked this piece for strings and celeste.
5. Ghent - begins with Alison Lawrance’s beautiful solo cello. This was written after an inspiring visit to the film festival in Belgium.
Video shot in Kelvingrove Park