A Song for Flodden

We're delighted to welcome Scottish soprano Shuna Scott Sendall this week, as she makes her debut with the Orchestra and performs the world premiere of Sally Beamish's latest commission, Flodden, in Hamilton and Selkirk. We caught up with Shuna to learn more...

Shuna Scott Sendall

Composer Sally Beamish tells us that she has written the soprano part with your voice in mind – tell us more about the new piece and your particular role.

It's a really exciting new piece and one of the movements is based on one of my favourite songs that I've been singing for years, The Flowers of the Forest. Because of the subject matter it's an extremely emotional work, full of the sorrow and grief of a place and people changed irrevocably by events around them and generally outwith their control. It manages to be both passionate and haunting and the voice frequently takes on a tone of keening and loss, giving the perspective of those that were left behind.  

This will be your first time performing with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra – what is it about the concert that you’re particularly looking forward to?

It's always thrilling to get to work with new people! There's a moment before you start that's filled with a mixture of terror and excitement at how it'll work out and then you get to relax a bit and play around with the new ideas and possibilities that come from slotting into a group that know each other so well. Working with an orchestra in a concert situation is always a joy as it's somehow much more intimate than when you're on an opera stage and you really feel connected and part of the action! 

Has your Scottish heritage been a particular influence in your music-making?

Very much so! I grew up singing lots of Scottish songs, from Burns to Harry Lauder and Billy Connolly! It's always lovely to sing something that resonates in your own accent and old Scots words are fun to decipher. I have a real passion for contemporary Scottish music especially that which takes old tunes we know and love and turns them around a little bit so they become something new.

If you could programme your dream concert, what would you perform and where would it take place?

There are so many things I want to sing its hard to pin any of them down! I'm currently in love with a song cycle by Thea Musgrave called Songs for a Winters Evening and I have a longing to sing Bergs Seven Early Songs. As to dream venues I've recently become very fond of the idea of doing concerts in places that have some form of link to the pieces you're performing, it adds a whole extra dimension for both the performers and the audience! Imagine where we could perform Flodden...