Echoes from a Lost Future
Bobby Wellins and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra bookmark history with ‘The Culloden Moor Suite’.
The disaster at Culloden on 16 April 1746 marks a moment in Scotland’s timeline that forever changed the course of Caledonian history. It’s also fair to say that the brutal nature of the conflict and its bloody aftermath has resonated in the Scots psyche ever since that fateful hour.
In 1961, Bobby Wellins was inspired to compose TheCulloden Moor Suite after reading John Prebble’s vivid account of the last pitched battle on British soil. Fifty years later, Bobby Wellins and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra joined forces to re-create his thrilling and evocative music. Together they conjured up the fervour, the anticipation, the horror, and ultimately the lamentable failure of a lost cause paid for in blood.
The five-act structure of The Culloden Moor Suite also affords generous space for expressive soloists whose voices place the listener at the heart of the action and the centre of the landscape. In this specially commissioned arrangement by Florian Ross, the battle and its terrible aftermath are seen from a modern, yet wholly empathetic perspective.
There is surely no ensemble anywhere that is better qualified than the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra to interpret Bobby Wellins’ emotive vision of this Highland tragedy through the medium of soul-stirring contemporary jazz. [Michael Clark]