Duration: 12′

  • Piano, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass
  • 1: Haar | 2: Whirlwind
  • Gemini Publications
  • Commissioned by Mr McFall’s Chamber with funds from the Scottish Arts Council
  • First performance 12 February 2003 – Mr McFall’s Chamber, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

The two movements of Dance the dark streets are inspired by poems about different aspects of Scottish weather. I enjoy the rich language and the sense of glowering stillness that Alexander’s poem, Haar in Princes Street, evokes with phrases such as ‘hudder like ghaists in the gastrous haar.’ In Haar I have tried to capture the drifting looming quality of that mist from the sea.

The second movement, Whirlwind, brushes away the ‘haar’ with a wild wind. This movement is influenced by Norman MacCaig’s poem, ‘April dances the dark streets of November, Pied Piper leading a procession of the coloured dreams of summer.’