Falkirk composer's work pays tribute to the Falkirk Wheel and his home town

Falkirk-born composer and pianist Euan Stevenson will be coming home for a special concert next weekend.

Thursday, 14th April 2022, 4:45 pm

The event in Falkirk’s Trinity Church will be the first performance of Sound Tracks – his suite of nine pieces for piano, flute and cello which celebrate this area’s rich history and culture.

But more than that, he has described it as “a nostalgic love letter to my home town”.

It will be performed by the Earthtone Trio, Euan’s longstanding collaboration with RSNO principal flautist Katherine Bryan and RSNO associate cellist Betsy Taylor.

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Pianist Euan Stevenson will be giving a free concert at The Falkirk Wheel on Saturday

Composed during lockdown, the suite’s premiere was originally scheduled for last year but like so many things was cancelled by the pandemic.

The work was co-commissioned from Classic Music Live! Falkirk and Chamber Music Scotland.

It is a musical exploration of Falkirk’s award-winning path network, some of which are the remains of ancient drove roads, and evoking both historical events such as Celtic tribes attacking the Roman Antonine Wall or the Jacobite victory at Falkirk Muir, and modern landmarks like the Falkirk Wheel.

However, on a more personal note, Euan has described it as “a visceral response to memories of my childhood, kindling memories of growing up amongst family, the community, the church, the tennis club … all the people who have a formative influence on your life”.

And church was where he had his first “live gig” playing for the Sunday school to accompany the junior choir.

He added: “I was thrilled to be asked to compose a body of work relating to the town where I grew up. Returning to old stomping grounds stirs up childhood memories and emotions and inevitably there is a sense of nostalgia and melancholy which finds its way into the music. It has also been extremely nourishing exploring surroundings, both familiar and new, with my own children, whose exuberance for running and cycling along the pathways fuels a playful side to the music.”

Currently living in Surrey but very much a Falkirk Bairn at heart, he is relieved to be finally getting Sound Tracks performed.

Much of it was recorded in lockdown and a single, Wheel Slowly Turning, is due for release on April 20 on the Glasgow label iOcco Classical and can be purchased from Bandcamp in HD audio together with sheet music downloads, as well as to stream via digital music sites.

The work has been inspired by the Falkirk Wheel, with Euan saying its “symmetry and elegantly balanced mechanism” inspired the construction of his piece.

The 41-year-old is increasingly sought after as a pianist and composer, with exciting developments in the pipeline, particularly a collaboration with the RSNO, and recitals with jazz singer Georgia Cécile.

Sound Tracks will be premiered on Sunday, April 24 in Falkirk Trinity Church with the concert starting at 7.30pm.

The concert programme will intersperse the eight movements of Sound Tracks with a variety of other pieces which show off Euan's great skill in combining the worlds of classical music and jazz.

Tickets, costing £16, £14 for concessions and £5 for students, can be purchased here