A composer who is a national treasure

Glasgow Herald

Keith Bruce

Savourna Stevenson, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

IT’s a truism, or at least an inversion of one, but you have to be self-effacing to be valued as a national treasure in Scotland – which is why the self-made career of harper Savourna Stevenson is still under-appreciated.

Showcasing the album of music derived from her soundtrack to BBC television’s tribute to Robert Louis Stevenson ( no relation ), she proved that she is, taking her place in a band she has drawn from the Cauld Blast Orchestra, including the superb Anne Wood on Violin, Steve Kettley on Saxophones & flute and Mike Travis on drums, plus Brian Shiels on Bass and Dave Tullock ( Clan Alba, Five Hand Reel ) on Marimba.

Her melodic imagination combined with her absorbtion of styles and use of traditional musical forms from around the world is mesmerising.

This is ambience with both meaning and feeling. Across the Plains dovetails a native American corn dance with the Skye Boat Song and Silverado Squatters has her harp playing bluegrass banjo to a slap bass accompaniment.

The last number had the entire ensemble doing an impersonation of a mariachi band, while La Solitude is, in her own words, an amalgamation of French impressionist classicism and jazz – all done in a traditional music style. If you don’t get the picture, you aren’t listening

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