Another free concert and another great treat. Two of the featured composers were born in Glasgow, three were in attendance, two of the pieces were BBC commissions and three were world or Scottish premieres. The Gokstad Ship by Aberdeen born John MacLeod was inspired by a Viking ship in a museum which had previously lain buried in Norway for around 1000 years. At his composition’s climax its beautiful keel could easily be imagined, cutting through the spray on a fine morning, even though MacLeod envisaged the journey being to the Viking underworld. Throughout the work, conducted and unconducted sections alternate. To me this evoked the fine balancing involved both in boat building and sailing. Also the uncertainty of where now the boat really exists – in the past or the present, in reality or in myth?
Myth and ritual ran all through the final work, Beltane, by Anna Clyne, with its long programme note describing the Beltane Fire Festival events which take place in Edinburgh every year, around which the music was composed. There was great charm in the second movement, as the piece progressed through changing lighting colours and the recorded sound of birdsong. This allowed emotional engagement, whilst the first movement had left me impressed but somewhat uninvolved. The triumphant end certainly hit a sweet spot in every way and demanded a rousing cheer. Hopefully someday Beltane will be performed in a context which directly involves live dance, film or fireworks to help the grandness of this music truly to come to life. Then I’m sure the cheer will be unstoppable.
Oliver Knussen was one of the composers born in Glasgow, though his family left soon afterwards. His Symphony no 3 is listed by the Guardian as one of the 50 greatest symphonies ever written, and as soon as it began one was aware of its compelling urgency. Here was a living musical world being presented to the audience. It had somewhere musical to go, and it took the audience with it. In order to explore the destination and fully enjoy the trip, repeated listenings are needed, and at only about 15 minutes, this is perfectly possible. As with the other concerts in the series, the whole concert was recorded for Radio 3 and will be broadcast, and made available by the BBC in February 2018.
If a symphony involves creating and presenting a musical world, then a concerto is more about dialogue. William Sweeney’s concerto involved internal dialogue as well as interplay between orchestra and soloist. Brilliantly played by Yann Ghiro, it was intriguing and personal, with the clarinet encountering and incorporating ceòl mòr, jazz and romantic classical music. These musical styles, apparently so far apart, found their way together and the concerto made complete expressive sense. At one point the whole string section, on a strummed pizzicato seemed to taunt the soloist – perhaps to get him to come up with a ‘tune’? (And how often do people who otherwise completely accept the ‘modern’ in art or poetry, have difficulties with ‘modern’ music?) Thinking about the whole concert, conducted by Thomas Dausgaard, I enjoyed The Gokstad Ship the most at the time, but most look forward to hearing the Knussen and the Sweeney again. (By the way Sweeney was the second of the concert’s sons of Glasgow, having been both born and educated there.)
Out of St Petersburg, the darling city of Russia’s love of arts, comes a stylish symphony orchestra that last night toured its way into Perth’s ever magnificent concert halls. The acoustics especially in Perth magnify such moments, transmelding the music into manna for the ears, & thus the soul. For me, Russian symphonic music tends to consist of individual phrases which will then get caught up by the leviathan of the whole of the entire orchestra – rather like the collection of Soviets that make up Russia itself. As for our guests, the Saint Petersburg orchestra played on throughout the 90-day siege of the city (as Leningrad) during WW2. Fortified to their very fibres, they were an institution worth driving a hundred miles to see.
A full house was presented with three Russian compositions – two Tchaikovskys & a Rachmaninov – music created by Russians, played by Russians & appreciated by the world. The first was Tchaikovsky’s sonata-poem & masterpiece, the Fantasy Overtureof Romeo & Juliet, which shows how the living energy of poetry may bound beyond its formal literary restrictions & create the phantasia, the mental images, just well. Composed midway between Borodino & the Oktober Revolution, it reflects the high tide of Tsarist culture. Inspired by Balakirev’s King Lear, it contains an exquisite paean to love, like a lady’s dress willowing through a sunlit glade, whose dramatic reprise near the end may quake open even the stoniest of tear-wells. Conducted by Alan Buribayev, & played by the dapper-dressed, the 20 minutes flew by in a stanzaic procession of music images, in which the essence of Shakespeare’s characters & dramatic message were relayed.
Next came Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto 4 (in G Minor), played by a white-haired, slightly inelegantly-postured Mancunian, Peter Donohoe. Looking a little awkward in his tails, as soon as he sat down & began to play the piece, I knew I was in the presence of a bohemian maestro. Take away the orchestra, dim the lights, add an empty & a half-full bottle of vodka, a gently smoking cigar, & I was transported into the musical sanctuary of this superb musician. As Donohoe surfed the lucid fluidity & swaggering confidence of Rachmaninov’s orchestral design, I gazed on his twinkling, glittering fingerwork, & the overall sound effect seemed rather like stars against a satin sky. Slated after its 1927 premier with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Rachmaninov revised the score to create a now beloved piece.
After the interval, Alan Buribayev returned to conduct Tchaikovsky’s ‘Pathetique,’ a less brilliant affair than his Romeo & Juliet, but one brimful with heart-warming moments of pathos. It was to be the composer’s final creation, indeed he died just weeks after its premier, & it seems almost like we are watching Tchaikovsky’s entire life in music flash before his eyes. Starting out teasing & playful, like a boy cherub at the feet of his parents, there soon follows a triumphant piece hectic with eclecticism, like the waking of a dragon protecting its treasures, the music grows tenser until, towards the end, as the music lifts into a kettledrum quivering, footstomping swirl of strings, I began to obsessively watch Buribayev’s feet as they danced & darted about the rostrum as if he was Northern Souling it down the Wigan Casino. He is only in his late 30s, & is a true talent; a really energetic individual that infuses the performance with his giddying enthusiasm.
After the finale, our rapturous applause eked out two short encores – Bach & Brahms – which tends not to happen so much with British orchestras. The Russians are clearly an extremely cultured people, as increasingly are the very lucky residents of Perthshire, into which region is poured a constant medley of the arts. And long may it continue.
As the aeroplane descended from the Heavens I couldnae help thinking, that the flight had been relatively short. It was a very warm sticky night. Quite the contrast from the dark rainy day that we had left behind in Scotland. The layers of clothing were soon peeled off. the Edenites boarded the waiting carriage for our journey from Split to Tsino. It gave me time to catch up with Tom Spirals and old friend and rising superstar as the big bus wove its way through the mountains in the darkness of night to our destination and dancing adventure. Everyone was excited as we were dropped off at the car park by the sea, as we waited for directions to The Garden that would be our home. The flying things in the trees were making lots of noise as we retrieved our luggage and then headed for the check in.
Emma and I dropped our bags off and headed into town to find the crew who had already settled into wonderland. Our mission wasnae successful but we did find our bearings and had a pre-party with some lads from Skipton. into the early hours, returning to bed at about 4am.
I awoke that Thursday Morning, it was around 9am, the temperature’s were already nudging the low thirty’s as we sat down for a hearty breakfast in the restaurant of Croatia’s answer to Butlins. I was feeling a bit sad for Kirsten, Matty and Bob. Because they had missed the flight, we found out later in the day that they had been booked onto a different flight and Bob would arrive for his DJ set later on that evening.
Baba Palmer and his beloved took myself and Emma for a walk around the site and the scenic route on the beach front to Tisno town, The sun was hot and my head was a bit jet lagged as I woheightrked out the local currency. Emma joined Becci and baby Munroe for lunch, I took my leave and headed for a solo explore. It was very very hot and the Sun was glorious. The Pontoon Sound System was firing up and my first dance of the day was beckoning.
I followed the Afternoon House Music along the coastal path, serenaded by the clearest blue sea, the Sunlight creating Diamonds a contrast to the desert like surroundings, the dusty path wove its way through the trees, this place resembled the bush at the height of summer down under, into The Garden. The Pontoon is a Jetty, at the end of which a powerful punchy soundsystem and Dj entertained the Edenites soaking up the late afternoon Sun. Divine slipped into the groove, the inner fire was building. my foot work was complimented by the Addidas boxing boots and I let rip. Danced the afternoon Sun into the beautiful blue/green sea, Took my clothes off and went for a swim. Luckily I had my trunks on, nude bathing and swimming were deffo a no no. the sea was refreshingly cold. I smiled and inner smile of contentment and swam and swam and swam. Then danced a bit more as the Sun dried me out.
I headed to the Terrace sound system and the dance continued, The floor of the restaurant proved to be perfect for spins. As I danced in the warm Dusk of Night. The Dj span a tune, a mash up of reggae beats and Bowies Rock N Roll Suicide. It shouldn’t have worked, I wondered is this sacrilege, och i thought, Divine stop being a Bowie snob. I had a good sing a long and the dancing fire within burned a little more intensely. Just as it was getting dark, Bob, Paul, Kirsten and Matty arrived. Yes Yes Yes. My feet were on Fire. Bob Todd Off The Plane, On the Bus, Off the Bus, On the decks. I breathed a sigh of relief as Tamla Motown hastened the groove of our first full day in Paradise.
At 10pm, Hot Chip took control of the decks on the Beach Sound System. It was the first time I had seen the lighting rig in action, Bathing the dancefloor and ocean in a sexy blue light. I danced hard for the next 5 hours, with water my only fuel, I grounded the love of Angels to full effect. Incorporating Reiki moving meditation, It was a very healing dance. The Dj was amazing. I do like Hot Chip, Celeb DJs always play for hours and hours and they never cock up. I danced till my body could dance no more and then walked slowly back to my cabin. It was Dawn, it was very warm and the Clicky flying things lamented a deep deep sleep. I was contently knackered. The inner smile was beaming. That was a fucking amazing day. Good Time Divinexx
I awoke that Friday Morning, The chalet filled with new arrivals. Bob and Paul fast asleep, I put a coffee on and Emma awoke from her sleep on the Bed in the kitchen. My body aching from the day before’s dance marathon. Friday was to be a quiet day. Restoring my fitness and tan. I was in and out of the sea all day. Chilling and cooking. Meditating and swimming. I crashed early that night and slept until 4am and headed to the Love Shack for a morning Boogie and Burger from Burgerellas. Indeed what a wonderful way to wake up. the Eden Crew had just returned from Barbarella’s, The Club that continued dance proceedings after Mid Night. Bob Iwas up for his Dawn set too. Motown on the Beach and my morning swim soundtrack. It set me up for the coming day. After I returned to the chalet and slept a bit more. It was a cooler day and quite over cast, my Dance of the afternoon was the Dusk set on the Beach Stage. A few drops of rain began to fall creating rippling circles in the sea. Tom spirals was playing The Terrace so i headed back to the chalet, to shower and touch up my make up.
As I opened the door i was greeted by three strangers, at first I thought they were dealers and soon found out that they were undercover police men. oh bugger I thought, but then remembered that I didnae have any Cannabis mainly because I didnae have the budget to buy any. This is when I discovered that cannabis in Tisno is a no no, cause if they bust you, they take your passport and will nae give it back until £500 has been paid. I never got to Toms Performance because we were being held captive. Eventually, the three stooges left, for a while it was intense. I sat and did my make up, filling the undercover boys with love. I never made it out after that, sleeping an uncomfortable sleep I awoke at 7am to prepare for my Dawn Disco.
I was still processing the night before as I approached the decks and not really feeling the party, Bob, Paul and Emma were fast asleep in the chalet. I was still half asleep, the DJ’s that played before me still in the fire of the night before, I just thought how do I follow that. So a full on Techno groove until a coked up Blonde started asking for House, I played House, she said no not that house and proceeded to throw pine cones at me. This was testing my tolerance levels to the max. So I played some Shirly Bassey and she fucked off. I was so glad when I played my last tune. I returned to the Chalet and fell back to sleep. I was playing again at 6pm and I had five and a half hours to give a proper performance.
Sunday was surreal, a smoky haze filled the sky and turned everything a dusty brown. there was quite a warm sea breeze blowing through the trees, I gave myself lots of healing that afternoon, it was an afternoon of letting go of the things that had upset me. It worked very well. My inner smile was beaming again. My four and a half hour set, I thoroughly enjoyed. Early evening ambience and classical Divine.
The Sun was hot on Monday Morning, after coffee I wandered down to the beach. the Pyrocats were swinging in the hammocks with Ben Lane playing his guitar. The Garden crew were dismantling The Beach rig and The Pontoon Soundsystem was firing up. I went to get some water for my swinging comrades and then wandered the Coastal Path into town to get some baccy. It was such a beautiful morning. I wandered through the trees and around the harbour it was roasting.
On the way to Harbor, I passed a local seafront drinking den, A voice shouted across “Hey Monsieur Divine, would you like a Margareta. OOOOooo La La, I replied. Yes indeed why not. It was cold and tangy and the perfect antidote to the very hot Sun. Edenites were everywhere, Sun bathing around the harbour. Owen and Paul joined me and then we all wandered into town for ice cream and coffee.
The dance continued into Mondays Dusk. I returned to the Chalet to freshen up, Paul was being creative, creating a therapy collage, working his emotions through in a very resIponsible way, Emma was getting ready for Dinner with her pals in town, Kirsten and Mattie had popped round. It was like scene from the Waltons. Both Kirsten and I had the Dance still in us. Mattie was knackered. So me and Kirsten headed back down to the Beach and The Pontoon Sound system. We danced for a while on the steps, over looking the Jetty. It was a dark Moon, a new Moon. A total Eclipse of the Sun was occurring. A gentle warm sea breeze. And the stars that shone bright, reflected upon the Ocean before me. I danced until I could Dance no more. The icecream seller had knocked off early, so i borrowed his chair and placed at the top of the steps, to get the full appreciation of the soundsystem that reproduced dance classic after dance classic in a very Hi Fidelity kind of way. It was a magikal moment, a once in a lifetime kind of feeling. The party finished at Midnight. The beauty of the Sea calm like a mill pond, I breathed the moment in untill it filled my soul. The warm peace was profound.
Tuesday was a day of Chivalry, I was down to my last 150kuna, so maximum budgeting, I was accompanying two friends to pay a fine and then travel to a new town so that they could retrieve their passports. It was a beautiful day and everything ran smoothly, it was a weight off of everybody’s mind when we got back to Tisno, the boys feeling the sting of being £500 lighter. It was an important lesson. The penalties for recreational drug use are not the same in Croatia as they are in the UK. I was reading a copy of DJ the glossy DJ magazine Its focus was on Croatia. The Garden at Tsino holds parties every weekend and is host to some of the biggest names in Dance culture. It attracts the European Dance Community and recreational drugs are a key factor of the Groove. It should be pointed out that if you enjoy recreational drugs in Croatia, make sure you have £500, because that is how much its gonna cost if one gets caught with it.
I’m too old for chemicals, E and MDMA are a thing of my past. I do have a penchant for LSD but that is once in a blue moon.And I dance better without it. And it is the dance that motivates me, Tisno was too beautiful for a comedown. I made that decision early and I never indulge when working. So these factors. Under normal festival circumstances, I always have some cannabis in my pocket. Not having the Budget for any stopped me from having my passport confiscated. If I had have had any on my person, I would have been in a Croatian Jail, because £500 I had not And with no Mum and Dad to phone. Aye one has to be extra careful and wise to the local drug laws before partaking.
So with the knowledge that everyone was ok and we were all going to get on Wednesdays aeroplane together. I let it all go. But the lesson was integrated and a wisdom was formed
The Eden Crew gathered for Dinner at the Tisno Hotel on the Tuesday Night, I had Pizza and two jars of ale, well it was my night off, it had been a long day, We walked back to The Garden after and when I got back to the Chalet, I was out like a light.
Our flight was a late one, on Wednesday Evening so had time to contemplate on what an amazing adventure “The Lost Disco” had been. It certainly felt as though I had been held in Tisno’s beauty for much longer. Indeed it was epic. when we arrived it was dark but the trip back to Split was in daylight. It was one of the most beautiful road trips I have ever encountered. I didnae feel sad about leaving, because i knew that this was only the beginning. An introduction and an education into a sun-soaked land.
As our Aeroplane landed on the tarmac of Glasgow Airport, The Pilot told us that it was 16degs so a warm welcome. I picked up my luggage and was chauffeured home by Tracy Jane. Tisno is a very healing place, for all it challenges, the replenishment is swift. as a place it has touched me very deeply a love for its people, a thirst to become knowledgeable of Croatian history. It is a very Holy place with Shrines and sacred symbolism everywhere. It is a place conducive for the realisation of Healing Miracles. I am a different person than when I set off. A deep healing has happened for me. It has been a long time since I have felt this strong, whole and complete