During January 2024 I composed 24 new pieces of music for 24 streets in Dundee.
January is usually when I take part in FunADay Dundee - though the project wasn't running this year, I decided to go ahead anyway!
#1 - Clepington Road
"It was the main access to the two estates of Easter Clepington and Wester Clepington. The name of the estate was in early times “Clephane-toun”, when the Clephanes of Carslogie, in Fife, were proprietors." (Glimpses of Old and New Dundee – A.H. Millar, January 1925, via Streetwise)
#2 - Sugarhouse Wynd
Curiously named wee cobbled wynd, between Cowgate and Seagate, harking back to sugar processing industry from a previous century. The trombones and cello take the theme, with a glockenspiel motif above.
#3 - Marketgait
An optimistic piece, where the theme moves between strings, bassoon and brass. The place of execution stood in the Marketgait, and was known as the The Heding-Cross. The word 'gate' means a doorway, while 'gait' means a road. (Glimpses of Old and New Dundee – A.H. Millar, January 1925, via Streetwise)
#4 - Caldrum Street
Today's tune is inspired by Caldrum St in the Hilltown - and based on the notes C + A - taken up by oboe, horn, then harp. "The name comes from the area of land called Cawdame-greyne or Caldrum Green. Caldrum probably means cold ridge." (Dundee City Archives)
#5 - Strawberrybank
A delicate tune for this narrow cobbled lane between Perth Rd + Magdalen Green - played by oboe + bassoon with some glockenspiel backing. There's little information about where the name comes from - any details welcome!
#6 - Stobsmuir Road
A majestic theme featuring cor anglais and inspired by the "Swannie Ponds" at Stobsmuir Park - with a melancholic sound reflecting the darker events in Stobsmuir's history.
#7 - Loons Road
Inspired by the view of Balgay Hill from Loons Road. Another minor key melody, this time starting on brass, before strings bring in another theme - these musical ideas will all be developed further during this year.
#8 - Gourdie Brae
Staccato strings strap in for a fast hair-raising ride! This brae forms the western boundary of Camperdown Park, and can prompt a bit of nail-biting...
#9 - Blackness Road
Blackness dates back to the 17th century at least, and since then this area has hosted many houses, factories and tenements. The music reflects these changes of texture on various instruments, and the image shows an exposed gable end beside recently demolished buildings.
#10 - Whitfield Drive
A bold minor key theme across multiple instruments. Dating back to the 16th century, Whitfield (probably named after the white fields of bog cotton) more recently was the site of the infamous Cruden/Skarne development.
#11 - Long Lane
Today's tune incorporates long notes across the instruments - with slight changes as it goes - much like walking on Long Lane in Broughty Ferry, with the variety of buildings, surfaces and views.
#12 - Balunie Avenue
Not far from Balunie Avenue, Baluniefield was the site of bleachworks dating back hundreds of years, and drawing water from the Dighty Burn. The music is based on B for Balunie, featuring stepping pizzicato lower strings and melodies throughout various other instruments.
#13 - Yarrow Terrace
Yarrow Terrace is home to a concrete water tower serving Menzieshill and Charleston since the 1960's, and also inspires today's piece of music... with a strident rhythm, simple melody and gradually evolving harmonies.
#14 - Buttar's Loan
Running from Camperdown Park due south, and known in the 1800's as Butter's Loan, today's piece is inspired by this northwestern route and features a sombre tone.
#15 - Peep O' Day Lane
This broad street near the river was named after an 18th century mansion, demolished to make room for the gas works! The theme is inspired by the peep of the sunrise as it appears in the morning . . .
#16 - Kirkton Crescent
Kirkton takes its name from the farm land it was built on (Magdalen's Kirkton + West Kirkton) after World War II. To reflect the crescent shaped street around the community centre, today's tune has a circular feel in 3/4 time.
#17 - Happyhillock
Today's tune is named after a road in Mid Craigie, which took the name from an old farm in the 19th century near the Dighty Burn. It's a pretty buoyant theme, taken up by various instruments.
#18 - Fintryside
Fintry inherited its name from Stirlingshire, when the Graham family moved in the 12th century - and the streets mainly have the Fin prefix. The music is a big-band style tune in F major featuring a lot of F's on trumpets and saxophones!
#19 - Birkdale Place
Situated in Ardler, which was named after the Airdlaw or Ardler Ponds nearby and built on a former golf course, this road takes its name from another golf course in northwest England. The tune is a mysterious 5/4 in B minor, featuring plenty B's for Birkdale.
#20 - Baldovie Toll
There's a small bridge here, from a bygone age - now it's a dead end, but I bet it has an interesting history . . . the music is a contemplative theme in D flat major.
#21 - Claypotts Road
Claypotts castle was built in the 16th century, and was reportedly home to a helpful brownie or hobgoblin! It gives its name to the area, road and today's tune, featuring a tuba solo in G flat major.
#22 - Hebrides Drive
Hebrides Drive loops around Mill of Mains, which first arrived in the 1960s to provide more housing for the expanding city. Today's theme is in C# minor, and taken up by bass clarinet, oboe and harp.
#23 - Strips of Craigie
Named after an old farm, one of three in the Craigie area - and this theme builds some volume, momentum and dram across the orchestra, in E minor.
#24 - Kingsway
The final piece in this series of 24 themes in 24 keys for 24 streets of Dundee - I've arranged my song "Ode to the Kingsway" for orchestra. The first ring-road in the country, featuring many "circles" as known by locals, who miss the old double-circle at Forfar Road!