Bennachie Sketch and Drostan's Calendar

Two pieces by Haworth Hodgkinson

Saturday 12 October 2019 • 7.30pm
Leith Hall • Kennethmont • HUNTLY • AB54 4NQ

Drostan Shore in Spring
Drostan Shore in Spring

Tickets: £12 (standard) • £15 (standard with drink)
available now from NTS online booking


Haworth Hodgkinson: Bennachie Sketch (2019) – world premiere performance

Haworth Hodgkinson: Drostan's Calendar (2015)

The ensemble Intuitive Music Aberdeen is pleased to present two works for keyboards by Haworth Hodgkinson.

Bennachie Sketch is a new piece receiving its world premiere performance tonight. It invites us to imagine spending 24 hours in the Forest of Bennachie, from 6am to 6am, although in performance 24 hours are compressed into about 24 minutes. The music calls for piano and two (electronic) organs, and all three players get to play each instrument.

Drostan's Calendar was completed in 2015, but its origins go much further back. Aberdour Beach, 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.

Drostan Shore in Summer
Drostan Shore in Summer

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.


Haworth Hodgkinson (keyboards and fixed media)
Mandy Macdonald (keyboards)
Colin Edwards (keyboards)

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 on performing Drostan's Calendar


Leith Hall • Kennethmont • HUNTLY • AB54 4NQ

This event is promoted by Leith Hall and Intuitive Music Aberdeen in association with Live Life Aberdeenshire as part of the Across the Grain festival 2019, and in association with the Sound Festival as part of the Surround Sound programme.


Leith Hall
Live Life Aberdeenshire
Sound Festival
Haworth Hodgkinson

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