Drostan's Calendar

First Aberdeenshire performance of a piece by Haworth Hodgkinson

Saturday 1 September 2018 • 7pm
The Green Room • Backhill of Auchmunziel • New Deer • TURRIFF • AB53 6TN

Drostan Shore in Spring
Drostan Shore in Spring

Admission by donation


Mandy Macdonald: Cirrus and Stars (2016)

Haworth Hodgkinson: Drostan's Calendar (2015) – first Aberdeenshire performance

The ensemble Intuitive Music Aberdeen is pleased to present the first Aberdeenshire performance of Haworth Hodgkinson's Drostan's Calendar preceded by a short piece by Mandy Macdonald.

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 location of this monastery, but it is believed to lie somewhere in the vicinity of Old Deer, perhaps on the site of the more recent Deer Abbey, or 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.

Drostan Shore in Summer
Drostan Shore in Summer

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.


Haworth Hodgkinson (keyboard and fixed media)
Mandy Macdonald (keyboard)
Colin Edwards (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 Green Room • Backhill of Auchmunziel • New Deer • TURRIFF • AB53 6TN


Haworth Hodgkinson

Web Statistics

Terms and Conditions • Website © HH0 2015–2024