Music Inspired by 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith - composed by Peter Graham


There is a Scotland Street in Edinburgh, but there is no number 44. That is the fictional address of a cast of characters who populate my serial novel set in the Georgian New Town. 44 Scotland Street started it existence some eight years ago in The Scotsman newspaper, with the daily publication of a chapter in the saga of a disparate group of people leading out their lives in the flats, coffee bars and galleries of one of Edinburgh’s most interesting neighbourhoods. Each year since then there has been a fresh volume in the series, and the story continues.




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When Peter Graham approached me with the suggestion that he should compose a piece for wind orchestra to celebrate the Scotland Street characters, I was intrigued by what could be made musically of an episodic novel of this sort. In the event he has with great subtlety and accuracy entered into the soul of the main actors in the Scotland Street drama. So here we have a wonderful musical vignette of Edinburgh douceness in the form of Domenica Macdonald and her tango. Here we have an entirely appropriate march for the narcissitic and self-confident Bruce. And here too are pieces of music that seem to express exactly as I imagine the experience of being the much put-upon six-year-old, Bertie, or Cyril, the only dog in Scotland to possess a gold tooth. The result is immense fun, beautifully envisaged by Graham’s lively score, and performed on this recording with such gusto and humour by the talented young performers of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. I am grateful to all of them for helping me to see my characters afresh.

Alexander McCall Smith

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