News Column

DJ Goldie in Fragments as he waits to hear his latest work

August 8, 2014

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WHEN Goldie hears his latest composition performed in Glasgow Cathedral on August 30, it will be a first for him.

Not only will the setting of a working church be unusual for the DJ, actor and electronic music artist, but it will be the first time he has heard the work performed.

The seven-minute piece has been inspired by the Hawick Missal Fragment, an extremely rare section of 12th century plainchant found in the Borders in 2009. Goldie's composition is the fourth time the fragment has been reinterpreted by a contemporary musician.

"It's a feeling of being able to manifest something out of nothing, creating something different, but it doesn't sound alien," says the DJ.

"I don't think anyone would have said that hundreds of years later someone would be taking this music and doing something with it."

Goldie was "not at all" familiar with medieval choral music before being sent a recording of the missal fragment performed by singers from Oxford University, but seized the opportunity to experiment.

"The closest thing for me to those chants, those hymns, is the third movement of Gorecki's Sorrowful Songs," he says. "I think it's important to be able to remain explorative about stuff. I love experimenting with pieces like this."

Goldie was invited to do the composition by Dr Matthew Cheung Salisbury, a music lecturer at University College Oxford (the project is coordinated by Historic Scotland and Heart of Hawick Heritage Hub, and funded by Creative Scotland).

The DJ chose to work with a melismatic section, where there are a number of notes to one syllable.

"Sometimes I think it's the space around music that creates music rather than the notes themselves," reflects Goldie, who has put a solo cellist at the heart of the piece.

"The solo cello really plays a beautiful melancholy for me. Strings is something I've always been good at in terms of the chords I use. So as long as I get my strings in order, I'm happy."

Dr Cheung Salisbury said: "It's a very good piece of music, very exciting and moving. Medieval music is thought of as something distant, not something we listen to in the bath. But this is a fresh and appealing way of reinterpreting it."

He's taken Goldie's electronically composed music and translated it into a piece for a small orchestra, featuring strings, keyboard, percussion and wind.

The 10-minute missal fragment is very precious. Out of 1,000 medieval musical manuscripts that might once have existed, as many as 999 have been destroyed it has been estimated.

The concert, Fragments of Gold, will feature the original chant, as well as the three other compositions created around the Fragment, by composers Michael Nyman, Sean Doherty and Grayston Ives.

Fragments of Gold is at Glasgow Cathedral on Saturday, August 20 at 7pm. Visit www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/homecoming to book tickets.


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Source: Herald, The (Scotland)


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