Tim Kliphuis Trio with fiddlers Patsy Reid & Clare Friel performed the world premiere of “The Stirling Queen” at the Queen’s Hall tonight. This work was specially commissioned by The Queen’s Hall as part of their 40th anniversary as a music venue programme
The Tim Kliphuis Trio with Nigel Clark (guitar) and Roy Percy (bass) have built up a strong following over the years with their mix of Gypsy Jazz, Classical and Traditional music, and this new work composed by Tim Kliphuis weaves intricately in and out of many musical styles with effortless ease.
The Stirling Queen is the story of Princess Margaret of Denmark (b 1456 – d 1486), who at the tender age of just 14 was to become the wife of a stranger almost, King James III of Scotland. As part of this marriage arrangement, the Danish Shetland and Orkney Islands were given to King James as part of the marriage contract and the islands have remained Scottish ever since.
This story, and the early death of Queen Margaret of Scotland (some claim she was poisoned), could easily have been written as a folk tale, but this story is true, and this young woman was to have a major role in the political formation of Scotland, often proving far more competent than her husband at State affairs.
Here, with “The Stirling Queen”, Tim Kliphuis, with imaginative use of reels, waltzes, laments and more has given us five definitive periods in the life of Queen Margaret, and in music we follow her journey by boat from Denmark to Scotland, marriage to King James, her settling into her new life and role, political intrigue and finally her death at all too young an age.
On stage with our main performers tonight were some students from The City of Edinburgh Music School*.
Given that this was the first public performance of this work, there was always going to be a little bit of “is this all going to come together and work?” The answer to that question is of course, a YES.
Before our main performance this evening was an all too short display of effortless skill from The Tim Kliphuis Trio in an improvisational display of effortlessly moving from the Gypsy Jazz sounds of Stephane Grapelli to movements from the classical Brandenberg Concerto by Bach. Tim always makes this look so easy on stage, and with Roy Percy keeping a steady bass all through, Nigel Clark was free to give everyone a glimpse of just what he is capable of on guitar.
Opening our programme tonight were “Fiddlers on the Ramp”, a group composed of five ex COEMS pupils. There was an absurdity to some of the music from them tonight, but a nice one, the sort that you can only really have when you are this young. There is obvious promise here, and it will be interesting to see what the band can do once they realise what their strengths really are and start to focus more on them.
*String Ensemble from COEMS tonight
Violins: Elianna Proud, Keara Koterwas, Lucy Ruuskanen, Mhairi Hamilton, Joel Gutierrez
Violas: Josie Law, Ava Llewellin
Cellos: Alicia Soares, Xander Proud
Review by Tom King