Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
I love the skirl of the pipes and that is what was delivered by Allan MacDonald in his landmark orchestral piece The Bruce 700. It is a sound-picture, commissioned originally to mark the 700 anniversary of Bannockburn. It begins by celebrating the life of Robert the Bruce, features the Battle of Bannockburn with vivid evocation of the action, then moves to the lamenting of the after conflict keening and finally expands into the growing realisation that a great battle has been won and a new Scotland forged.
Emotionally supercharged especially when a young troop of pipers and drummers, from Stirling youth music groups, take the stage. It is a fantastic work let down by only two things, the audience participative song at the end which should be a rousing call to freedom, but it doesn’t have enough oomph! and the words are simply not anthemic. This brings me to the other problem the piece finishes with this paean, and, when the last note sounded, there was a considerable pause before the audience realised the work was completed and we should clap. About half the audience gave a standing ovation (including me), but it could have been so much better with a rousing ending.
Reviewer : Marc Sherland