The Cold Dancer.

Dempster, Kenneth (2005) The Cold Dancer. [Composition]

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)


The work’s starting-point and source of inspiration is the poem, A Reel of Seven Fishermen by the Orcadian poet, George Mackay Brown and the music is structured closely around the form and ideas found in the poem. In the early stages of the work, the four Elements assert a powerful influence over the nature of the music, as they do in reality. As the work progresses, sounds of distant psalm-singing are mixed with echoes of the fiddle tunes that are played on days of celebration. This gathering collage of memories forms the main part of the work and spans the past, present and future turmoil of the three principal characters. The work concludes in a mood of sombre reflection.

The nature of the music itself reflects the parallel of two time-lines: for the two women in the poem, time passes slowly as they prepare for the fisherman’s homecoming; but for the fisherman time is going ‘fast-forward’ and in ‘rewind’ as flashes of future hopes form an intense collage with remembrances from the past. This ‘layered simultaneity’ lies at the heart of the music and the way the musical material and the four instruments of the quartet relate.

Item Type: Composition
Additional Information: The String Quartet No.4 has received approx. 15 performances throughout Scotland. The work has been recorded onto CD (Delphian Records) and was released in November 2006. It has also formed the basis of a series of 35 educational workshops held in primary schools. The children compose sections of music based on the same ideas that Kenneth used. These sections are then rehearsed alongside the Edinburgh Quartet playing the work and the final ‘new version’ is then performed to the rest of the school.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Quartet; Strings; One movement; Scottish influences;
University Divisions/Research Centres: Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Creative Industries > School of Arts & Creative Industries
Dewey Decimal Subjects: 700 Arts & recreation > 780 Music > 787 Stringed instruments
700 Arts & recreation > 780 Music > 785 Ensembles with one instrument per part
700 Arts & recreation > 780 Music > 780 Music
Library of Congress Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Item ID: 2344
Depositing User: RAE Import
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2009 10:48
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2009 10:48

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Edinburgh Napier University is a registered Scottish charity. Registration number SC018373