A very warm welcome to this summer’s Orchestral Concert as part of Live at No. 40, showcasing the Orchestra of Scottish Opera in a programme drawing from the American classical music tradition.

We are delighted that Andrew Gourlay, fresh from conducting the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain at the BBC Proms 2022, makes his Company debut conducting The Orchestra of Scottish Opera tonight.

It is a pleasure to be able to perform for you today in the midst of the Company’s performances of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide – another classic of the American repertoire – which we hope you can catch at one of its remaining performances if you have not seen already.

Our evening starts with Samuel Barber’s haunting and well-loved Adagio for Strings. Mezzo-soprano and Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Lea Shaw joins us for the faith and fun of Aaron Copland’s orchestral Old American Songs before the Orchestra turns to the romance and innovation of his wonderful Appalachian Spring.

We conclude our concert with Dvořák’s rousing Symphony No. 9 ‘From the New World’, which the Czech composer wrote while working as the Director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York City.

We would like to extend a special thank you to all of our supporters, in particular those in the Music Director’s Circle.
Enjoy the concert!

Jay Allen
Orchestra and Concerts Director, Scottish Opera
Stuart Stratford
Music Director, Scottish Opera


Samuel Barber
Adagio for Strings, Op. 56

Aaron Copland
Selections from Old American Songs, books 1 and 2

  • ‘Simple Gifts’
  • ‘Zion’s Walls’
  • ‘At the River’
  • ‘I Bought Me a Cat’

Aaron Copland
Appalachian Spring


Antonín Dvořák
Symphony No. 9 ‘From the New World’

  • I. Adagio – Allegro molto
  • II. Largo
  • III. Molto vivace
  • IV. Allegro con fuoco


Running time:
2 hours including a 20-minute interval

Programme Notes

Adagio for Strings
Famous for use in films such as Platoon, video games such as Homeworld, and adverts such as Warburtons, Samuel Barber (1910-1981) initially wrote Adagio for Strings as the second movement of a string quartet before he adapted it into its final standalone form in 1936. He also made a version for unaccompanied choir, using the words of the Agnus Dei. This soul-searching piece has become an unofficial song of mourning, famously broadcast in memory of US Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy (who named Adagio for Strings as his favourite piece of music) and played live at the funeral of Albert Einstein. Leonard Bernstein, composer of Candide and friend of the Kennedys, was a noted interpreter; he led the New York Philharmonic in four performances of the piece after Barber’s death in 1981.

Old American Songs
‘Old’ and ‘American' can seem a mismatch, but in two sets of arrangements for voice and piano, Aaron Copland (1900-1990) selects ten songs from many rich cultures, traditions, and histories that made up 19th century American culture as people from all over the world came to the United States by choice, force, or chance. His inspiration comes from Christian revivalists, spiritual movements such as the Shakers, secular Anglo-American folk songs, political ditties, and the African-American diaspora. His topics span the universal: politics, religion, children, love, loss, and death are familiar across genres and continents.

English composer Benjamin Britten commissioned the first ‘book’ of songs from Copland; he and his partner, the tenor Peter Pears, premiered these five songs at Aldeburgh in 1950. At the premiere of the second book in 1958, Copland played the piano alongside the bass-baritone William Warfield. Copland himself later orchestrated the accompaniments of all ten songs, and it’s these orchestral version we hear tonight.

Three songs performed today – ‘Simple Gifts’, ‘Zion’s Walls’, and ‘At the River’ – explore different aspects of faith. The fourth, ‘I bought me a cat’, is a playful children’s tune. All are captivating mini-stories – smaller versions of opera’s familiar narratives and dramas.

See the next section for lyrics.

Appalachian Spring
After Copland created a ballet for Martha Graham in 1944, he adapted his original 13-instrument score for full orchestra; it became one of his most popular works in this form. The ballet tells the story of a preacher, a young couple, and an older woman surviving on the American frontier. Listeners will find a familiar melody in the seventh section of Appalachian Spring: the Shaker hymn ‘Simple Gifts’, also found in Old American Songs, underscores the newlyweds’ life on a farm. Keep an ear out for the large and varied percussion section. Even without words, Copland creates drama and movement that captures the excitement, uncertainty, and beauty of forging a new life.


Symphony No. 9, ‘From the New World’
Czech composer Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) wrote his famous symphony in 1893 while working as Director of the National Conservatory of Music of America. It represents a bridge between European and American music traditions at the turn of the 20th century, drawing American melodies – notably African-American spirituals – into the European symphonic framework. One of the piece’s most recognisable segments is the second movement, Largo, centred around a plaintive cor anglais solo. Dvořák’s student Williams Arms Fisher later gave this melody lyrics, creating a new song ‘Goin’ Home’ in the American spiritual tradition. The inspiration clearly went both ways.

Dvořák’s lush writing shows off the virtuosic solo skills of section principals in The Orchestra of Scottish Opera.

Old American Songs - Lyrics

Simple Gifts
‘Tis the gift to be simple, ‘tis the gift to be free,
‘Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be.
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed.
To turn, turn will be our delight
‘Till by turning, turning we come round right.

Zion’s Walls
Come fathers and mothers,
Come sisters and brothers,
Come join us in singing the praises of Zion.
O fathers don’t you feel determined to meet within the walls of Zion,
We’ll shout and go round the walls of Zion.

At the River
Shall we gather by the river,
Where bright angels’ feet have trod,
With its crystal tide forever
Flowing by the throne of God.

Yes we’ll gather by the river, the beautiful river,
Gather with the saints by the river
That flows by the throne of God.

Soon we’ll reach the shining river,
Soon our pilgrimage will cease,
Soon our happy hearts will quiver
With the melody of peace.

Yes we’ll gather by the river, the beautiful river,
Gather with the saints by the river,
That flows by the throne of God.

I Bought Me a Cat
I bought me a cat, my cat pleased me.
I fed my cat under yonder tree.
My cat says fiddle eye fee.

I bought me a duck, my duck pleased me,
I fed my duck under yonder tree.
My duck says ‘Quaa, quaa’…

I bought me a goose, my goose pleased me.
I fed my goose under yonder tree.
My goose says ‘Quaw, quaw’…

I bought me a hen, my hen pleased me.
I fed my hen under yonder tree.
My hen says ‘Shimmy shack, shimmy shack’…

I bought me a pig, my pig pleased me.
I fed my pig under yonder tree.
My pig says ‘Griffey, griffey’…

I bought me a cow, my cow pleased me.
I fed my cow under yonder tree.
My cow says ‘Baw, baw’…

I bought me a horse, my horse pleased me.
I fed my horse under yonder tree.
My horse says ‘Neigh, neigh’…

I bought me a wife, my wife pleased me.
I fed my wife under yonder tree.
My wife says ‘Honey, honey,’
My horse says ‘Neigh, neigh,’
My cow says ‘Baw, baw,’
My pig says ‘Griffey, griffey,’
My hen says ‘Shimmy shack, shimmy shack,’
My goose says ‘Quaw, quaw,’
My duck says ‘Quaa, quaa,’
My cat says fiddle eye fee.


The Orchestra of Scottish Opera

Anthony Moffat

First Violins
Anthony Moffat
Frances Pryce – Visiting Tutor to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Katie Hull – Assistant Leader and Visiting Tutor to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Terez Korondi
Timothy Ewart
Sian Holding
Maria Oguren
Michael Larkin
Gemma O Keeffe
Sharon Haslam – Visiting Tutor to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Second Violins
Andrew Long – Guest Section Principal
Giulia Bizzi
Liz Reeves
John Robinson
Helena Zambrano Quispe
Malcolm Ross
Abigail Young
Sarah Perricone

Lev Atlas – Section Principal and Visiting Tutor to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Mary Ward
Shelagh McKail
Alison Hastie
Ian Swift
Maggie Miller

Daniel Bull – Guest Section Principal
Marie Connell
Sarah Harrington
Aline Gow
Susan Dance

Double Basses
Peter Fry – Section Principal
Chris Freeman
Sarah Neil
Lesley-Ann Smith

Flutes / Piccolos
Eilidh Gillespie – Guest Section Principal
Lee Holland

Amy Turner – Section Principal and Visiting Tutor to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Kirstie Logan
Catherine Earnshaw

Cor Anglais
Kirstie Logan

Lewis Graham – Guest Section Principal
Lawrence Gill – Visiting Tutor to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Luis Eisen – Guest Section Principal
Heather Brown

Sue Baxendale – Section Principal and Visiting Tutor to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
David Pryce
Lauren Reeve-Rawlings
Ian Smith
Anya Flanagan

Paul Bosworth – Section Principal
Simon Bird – Visiting Tutor to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Tenor Trombone
Cillian Ó Ceallacháin – Section Principal
Alan Pash

Bass Trombone
Chris Stearn

Craig Anderson – Guest Section Principal

Ruari Donaldson – Section Principal and Visiting Tutor to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Jo McDowell – Guest Section Principal
Ruaridh Neil

Saida de Lyon

Derek Clark


Orchestra & Concerts Director
Jay Allen

Orchestra Manager
Heather North

Orchestra Technical Coordinator
Barry Inglis

Orchestra Technician
Noel Mann

Orchestra Technician / Driver
Brian Murphy

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