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Music review

Fragments of Gold

Fragments of Gold

Glasgow Cathedral

Marianne Gunn

Within Glasgow Cathedral, Goldie - more frequently associated with electronic music - premiered his second "classical" music composition. His first, Sine Tempore was performed in London's Royal Albert Hall.

The new piece, Christian Celeste. results from work with Dr Matthew Cheung Salisbury on the Hawick Missal Fragment, a medieval book found in 2009 of the texts and chants from a mass, although a more poignant and personal stimulus for Goldie was the death of his stepbrother Christian just after the piece was commissioned.

Goldie's crossover into the classical domain can be traced to the BBC's Maestro series, when celebrities turned conductors. Proms' director Roger Wright noticed Goldie's potential as a composer and he was invited to write a piece for the first night of the Proms.

With this particular Historic Scotland project, Goldie has clearly fallen in love with the simplicity of the plainsong, sung by the Andante Choir, and his developing fixation with orchestration could mean a second and third movement.

In the question-and-answer session that followed, Goldie distanced himself from full ownership of the piece, however.

"I am a vessel," he explained, while jocularly emphasising his role as "alchemist" over composer. As Goldie does not read or write music, his input was sung or recorded on keyboard and then the various parts were scored by Cheung Salisbury.

The chord angst of the piece's motif was something he did not veer from, although Goldie did tinker with the drum balance, the original over-use of which could be down to his drum 'n' bass musical roots.

In an interesting evening of music-making, I have one minor quibble: it would have been a more pleasing end to proceedings if the short composition was re-played after the discussion. It would have been more fitting for the orchestra, the majestic setting and for the Fragments of Gold message.

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