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St Magnus Festival

Presented by Tom Service. As the St Magnus International Festival celebrates its first 40 years, Tom visits Orkney's annual midsummer celebration of music and the arts.

Presented by Tom Service.

As the St Magnus International Festival celebrates its first 40 years, Tom Service takes Music Matters on the road to Orkney's annual midsummer celebration of music and the arts founded by the late Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Including a discussion about the role of rural arts festivals in their local communities, with St Magnus artistic director Alasdair Nicolson, music critic Kate Molleson, chief executive of the Hebrides Ensemble, Jennifer Martin, and composer and educationalist Stephen Deazley.

Available now

45 minutes

Chapters

  • Festivals in the community - panel discussion

    Duration: 16:05

Last Post

Last Post

Tom explores one of the 40 new works featured at this year’s festival. Created specially for the unique surroundings of the mess hall at Ness Battery, a coastal military compound near Stromness, The Last Post is a piece for trumpeter Tom Poulson, based on letters written by his Grandfather during the Second World War. Music is by the electro-acoustic composer Alastair MacDonald, and the work is directed by Susan Worsfold.

Life in a day of the festival

Life in a day of the festival
In Kirkwall, Tom takes in three concerts during one day at the festival, starting with a lunchtime performance by the Danish Sinfonietta in the St Magnus Cathedral, where he talks to the conductor David Ridell and violist Olga Goija. At St Magnus’ Grammar School, home to the Orkney Theatre, Tom sees the Orcadian premiere of The Iris Murder, a mythical opera by the festival’s artistic director Alasdair Nicolson and festival poet John Gallas, and back at the cathedral he experiences a late night concert for organ, choir and bagpipes, recreating a similar event at the first festival in 1977. 
He also discovers the essential role of the festival’s large team of on and off stage volunteers, meeting Festival Chorus member Graham Garson as he arrives from his home island of Westray for a rehearsal for Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

Festivals in the community

Festivals in the community

At the King Street Halls in Kirkwall, as part of the St Magnus International Festival, Tom hosts a panel discussion on the future of music festivals and their role in the community, with Alasdair Nicholson, the composer and educationalist Stephen Deazley, the music journalist Kate Molleson, and Jennifer Martin, composer and Chief Executive of the Hebrides Ensemble.

Including the world premiere performance of a work by Peter Maxwell Davies which he wrote for a school teacher on the island of Sanday, where the composer spent his final years.

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Tom Service
Interviewed Guest Alasdair Nicolson
Interviewed Guest Kate Molleson
Interviewed Guest Jennifer Martin
Interviewed Guest Stephen Deazley

Broadcasts

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Podcast