Drostan's Calendar

World premiere performance of a piece by Haworth Hodgkinson

Friday 15 December 2017 • 7pm
St Mary's and St Peter's Church • Mid Links • MONTROSE • DD10 8HD

Drostan, depicted in a window of
St Mary's and St Peter's Church

Admission by donation to the church organ fund

Refreshments will be served


Haworth Hodgkinson: Drostan's Calendar (2015) – world premiere performance

The ensemble Intuitive Music Aberdeen is pleased to present the first performance of Haworth Hodgkinson's Drostan's Calendar on the feast day of St Drostan and in a church that incorporates a stained-glass window depicting Drostan.

According to accounts in the Aberdeen Breviary and the Book of Deer, Drostan accompanied Columba when he sailed from Ireland to Scotland in about 563 AD. They landed at Aberdour Beach on the Aberdeenshire coast and established a monastery in Buchan at a bend in the River Ugie. Archaeologists are uncertain of the exact site of this monastery, but it is believed to lie somewhere in the vicinity of Old Deer, perhaps within what is now Aden Country Park.

Columba returned to Iona, but Drostan remained in the North-East, and his name is associated with various sites in Aberdeenshire and Angus. The Pictish symbol stone at St Vigeans known as the Drosten Stone, unusual in bearing an inscription in Roman script, which reads "drosten ipeuoret ettfor cus", may refer to the same person. Drostan ended his days as a hermit in Glen Esk, and after his death his relics were taken back to Aberdour.

Aberdour Beach, now also known as the Drostan Shore, has long held a fascination for composer Haworth Hodgkinson. After some preliminary recordings in 1999, he visited the Drostan Shore at monthly intervals during 2004, making recordings of the waves breaking on the pebble beach. These twelve recordings of the sea in its seasonal moods became the basis of Drostan's Calendar, with live players adding gentle layers of intuitive music that become gradually more complex as the months proceed.


Rebecca Dunn (keyboard)
Colin Edwards (keyboard)
Haworth Hodgkinson (keyboard)
Mandy Macdonald (keyboard)

Playing the first few sections of this piece – the months January to March – induces a calm, Zen-like stillness, as very few notes are played against the ebb and flow of the natural sounds behind the live performance. As the piece progresses, its complexity gradually builds up and new notes offer the player greater opportunities to invent tiny melodic fragments. Responding to the other players, I find myself imitating little phrases someone has just made, perhaps ornamenting them a little (my baroque training!). It's also exhilarating when we produce unplanned harmonies or interesting discords, or when a new section brings the notes into a new relation with the insistent A sharp / B flat, which runs like a backbone through the work. These moments can send the performance off into new and unexpected harmonic – and emotional – territory.

– Mandy Macdonald

The backing track we are accompanying feels like it's speaking to me about the story of what's going on that we can't hear. When I visit the sea I hear something like that tone, but it's me listening to everything that's unsaid and unheard, or picking out bits of the sound and focusing on them. The way Haworth has designed the sound I think is amplifying aspects of what is already in the recording of the sea and beach and modifying the pitch – this to me means that I am still listening to the sea but a human interpretation that is enhancing certain aspects of it. That's what we all do when we hear something, we enhance or emphasise certain bits. When we play we are adding and responding to this soundscape and to each other's interpretations of it, creating layers of meaning.

– Rebecca Dunn


St Mary's and St Peter's Church • Mid Links • MONTROSE • DD10 8HD


St Mary's and St Peter's Church, Montrose

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