Inspired by the extraordinary tenth century Aberdeenshire portable gospel book, Richard Ingham’s Music For The Book Of Deer is kaleidoscope of plainsong, reels and electronic soundscapes: a sonic rollercoaster, with bells. The work features the band Strangeness & Charm, with Richard Ingham (saxophone, whistles, bass clarinet, wind synthesiser), Maarten Verbraeken (trumpet, flugelhorn), Fraser Burke (keyboards, accordion), Kenny Irons (bass) and Andy James (percussion). The twelve part suite creates musical images of the book itself, the early monastery in Deer, and the local working community. Movements include The Light of Columba, Cathal’s Banquet, St Drostan at Deer, This Splendid Little Book, Dancing in the Margin and Still Shining.
The Book of Deer is one of Scotland’s most important manuscripts, equally famous for its gospel extracts and for the Gaelic insertions written two centuries later. These insertions give an insight into land grants and the workings of society in North East Scotland at the time, and are the earliest surviving examples of Gaelic literature in Scotland.