Streets of Dundee

Introducing Streets of Dundee, a new orchestral collection celebrating the roads, avenues, wynds, lanes and streets of the city!

Each day of January 2024, I composed new tunes for various streets around my home city of Dundee as a fun project. Each was written in a different key, featuring different instruments, and exploring many tones, rhythms and feelings.

These tunes grew, evolved and became an entire orchestral album - evoking the wide range of sights and sounds - with a wee nod here and there to the history hidden among the streets of Dundee.

Listen on streaming platforms - or Download via Bandcamp.

  1. Gourdie Brae. A hair-raising ride down the brae from the northwest into the city, enlivened by staccato strings and brass, with pounding percussion and trilling woodwinds. In the middle, there’s a quote from the theme for nearby Buttar’s Loan.
  2. Clepington Road. The first piece composer for this collection, a stately introduction to Dundee. The theme moves across woodwinds and strings, with a variety of rhythms and tones reflecting the diversity of Clepington Road and the city around it.
  3. Balunie Avenue. Situated in Douglas in the east of Dundee, this avenue is introduced by stepwise pizzicato on the lower strings in three, reflected by woodwinds and brass. A contrasting section borrows the melody from Kirkton Crescent, taken up by oboe, clarinet and cello.
  4. Marketgait. This bustling central thouroughfare has an optimistic theme in A major on cello and bassoon. The contrasting minor-key section explores a melody written for Hebrides Drive in Mill O Mains, featuring woodwinds and harp, before staccato notes across the orchestra build towards the return of the first theme.
  5. Strawberrybank. Inspired by a wee gem of a cobbled lane in Dundee’s west end, a tuneful pulse on glockenspiel accompanies delicate melodies across the woodwinds, with 4-part vocals providing a choral backdrop.
  6. Stobsmuir. Giving its name to a road and a park, the peaceful start on flute and harp leads to a melancholy cor anglais solo, followed by development on brass and strings.
  7. Happyhillock. This positively named street is in Mid Craigie in the northeast of Dundee, named for an old farm, with a chirpy lilting tune echoed across the woodwind and brass and backed up by percussion.
  8. Loons Road. On the east of Lochee, the road’s name has a mysterious origin, and the piece begins with sombre tones on brass. These brighten, before the strings arrive with a second theme - and both are repeated with added colour on the woodwinds.
  9. Blackness Road. Running west from the city, and previously a hub of industry, the road inspires a waltz on woodwinds enhanced by bold brass and harmonic strings as it develops. The middle section features a clarinet solo, accompanied by cello and then joined by flute.
  10. Claypotts. Taking its name from a quirky 400-year-old castle in the east of Dundee, this theme begins low and slow on strings and brass, before rising to the flutes. It borrows a theme from Whitfield Drive, then fades into the distance.
  11. Sugarhouse Wynd. A curiously named lane near the old docks, this inspires a mid-tempo ensemble piece with a hidden groove. Trombone leads the main theme, reflected on cello, with chords across strings and winds.
  12. Long Lane. Named after Broughty Ferry’s longest lane, this piece features sustained strings throughout, with drama added by brass chords and timpani. A canon on woodwind forms a contrasting theme between the sustained sections.
  13. Yarrow Terrace. Home to the distinctive water tower resembling a UFO, this street in Menzieshill is shaped like a tree with several branches. The music is bold and dynamic, trombones take the lead with growing support from brass and percussion.
  14. Baldovie Toll. At the northeast corner of Dundee, this old bridge looks to have had an interesting history, though it’s bypassed now. The piece begins with mellow tones, then different instruments take their turns with the theme.
  15. Birkdale Place. Among the Ardler streets named after golf courses, this relatively recent street is represented by a mysterious theme in an irregular time signature.
  16. Caldrum Street. Named after an old street in the Hilltown of Dundee, this piece is introduced by low strings before the oboe and brass take it forward to a harp solo with vocal backing.
  17. Peep O’Day Lane. Tip-toeing tunes on the strings to reflect the name of this short lane, which apparently used to lead to a mansion. The cello and viola trade melodies, before the woodwinds join in.
  18. Whitfield Drive. To the northeast of Dundee, Whitfield was named after the bleach fields previously seen in the area and worked by the inhabitants. The music begins with an ominous theme on the brass, before diverting via the woodwinds to a second melody taken up by the strings.
  19. Buttar’s Loan. Brass chords lead the way in this homage to the road in the northwest, previously Butter’s Loan. Part of the melody is familiar after being quoted earlier in Gourdie Brae.
  20. Ode to the Kingsway. An orchestral rendition of the song which delights in the country’s first ring-road, and laments the loss of the old double-circle at Forfar Road. This piece proves a fitting finale to the album, as it weaves all around Dundee!