Thursday 13 March 2014

Scottish Suite (Anthony Phillips, 1980)

IMHO, this 15 minutes classically arranged suite is a gem. It comes from "Private Parts and Pieces II: Back to the Pavilion", the second Ant's compilation of previously recorded but never released materials. This track, in particular, was originally conceived as part of a wider and never achieved musical translation of William Shakespeare's Macbeth and was recorded in June 1976.The sub-title of the piece, "A collection of Scottish Salmon farmer's songs and 12th century Paraguayan tin-miner's threnodies" reflects the tricky and challenging plot of the suite, divided in five movements (by the way, a threnody is a mourning song, but please don't ask me about Paraguayan tin-miners habits!!).

Peter Cross created this beautiful cover for Ant's album.

That said, the suite is a splendid instrumental piece of music, full of good melodies, pleasant electric and acoustic guitar harmonies and rythm changes. The romantic vein of Phillips meets here a somewhat edgy and even scary mood, a gloomy side of Ant's music we appreciate now and then in his huge discography. In addiction to this, Mike Rutherford's 12 string guitar graces the second movement, titled "Salmon Leap". Each movement has its own secial charm and still, as different as they are, they perfectly match. Each time I listen to this track I'm taken by its delicate balance of stength and delicacy... don't loose it, if you can.

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