Date Published: 30th September 2020
The world premiere of the quite beautiful ‘Ninian’s Gift’, composed by Tom Cunningham with words by our own Alexander McCall Smith, has taken place online as part of the Wigtown Book Festival. ‘Ninian’s Gift’ reflects on the lives of early Scottish saints, including St Ninian who came by sea to Whithorn in the 4th century. Some of these saints are accepted historical figures – others are not. Some of the accounts of their doings are realistic; others are completely improbable. The saints’ lives were often hard: Scotland at the time was a wild and dangerous country. The places settled by the early saints were beacons of learning and light in dark times. The performance will be followed by a short discussion with Alexander McCall Smith and Tom Cunningham.
Bravo both. It is a really remarkable piece – Stuart Kelly, Critic
You can listen to ‘Ninian’s Gift’ here (there is a delay at the start so scroll to 13.00 for the session to begin). It will be available until the end of October 2020 and you can listen free.
Eleanor Cozens – Soprano (Narrator)
Morven McIntyre – Alto
Stuart Murray Mitchell – Tenor
Ian Sutherland – Baritone (Narrator)
Michael Harris – Music Director
Alexander has collaborated with composer Tom Cunningham on more than a dozen compositions, one of which, A Tapestry of Many Threads, won a Herald Angel Award at the 2012 Edinburgh Festival. Their opera The Okavango Macbeth was premiered in Botswana in October 2009 and subsequently performed in Edinburgh, Cambridge and Cape Town.