• Andy Shearer

Day 181 - Craig Armstrong/Dalziel + Scullion: 15 Years Ago Today

On Friday 16th September 2005, Perth Concert Hall officially opened with a gala launch concert. The highlight of the programme was One Minute, a new collaborative piece commissioned by Horsecross Arts from composer Craig Armstrong and video artists Dalziel + Scullion and performed by The Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Garry Walker.

One Minute: 15 Pieces For Orchestra was included on an album of Craig Armstrong compositions, Memory Takes My Hand, recorded by the RSNO conducted by Garry Walker and released by Virgin Classics in 2008. You can listen to the album on Spotify here.


"When first approached by Horsecross to create a work for the new Perth Concert Hall we were excited by the idea of working together. Our practices, though diverse in nature and scale, had shared areas of interest. We had long discussions about the form that the work should take. From here the idea of one minute pieces with both pictures and music existing within their own time and space fell into place.


In contemporary life there is a perception that time and space are being constantly compressed. This is an idea that fascinated us. In a curious way, the Japanese haiku poem reflects this wonderfully: the discipline and economy of three lines that refuse to hint at a final meaning, that mean nothing beyond themselves, yet the reader can plunge into infinite depths within its short lines. This was how the filming of the cloud sequences for this piece was treated.


It was vitally important to the work that the visual and musical elements were intrinsically connected. Sounds recorded with each film are used in the musical composition; sometimes these are manipulated electronically, other times used as found.


A major part of composing One Minute was how the individual parts would combine together. For this, each of the minute pieces has a strict harmonic plan starting from Knoydart which begins with a pentatonic scale (5 notes) adding one note for each movement; eventually Crimond uses all 12 notes of the chromatic scale. From here, each movement decreases one note at a time returning to Perth and back to the pentatonic scale. The piece therefore is in an arch form from tonality through chromaticism back to tonality. Visually and musically, the piece is complimented by nature."


Craig Armstrong, Dalziel + Scullion


The filmed sequences were made at the following locations: Knoydart, Sionascaig, Sound of Jura, Buachaille Etive Mòr, Raasay, Govan, Kirkwall, Crimond, Quiraing, Rackwick Bay, Edinburgh, Cape Wrath, Glasgow, Rannoch Moor and Perth.


"Craig Armstrong's spacious music for One Minute, whose gorgeous sonic landscape was an evocative soundtrack to the 15 short skyscape films by Dalziel + Scullion." Michael Tumelty , The Herald

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