Helensburgh Orchestral Society is presenting the first performance by an amateur orchestra of composer Martin Suckling’s latest piece ‘Meditation (after Donne)’, a piece for chamber orchestra and electronics, as part of their concert this Saturday, December 1.

Commissioned by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra to mark the 1918 Armistice centenary, the work explores the themes of celebration, loss, community identity and the legacy of war.

The piece takes as its inspiration the massed ringing of bells as Armistice was declared.

Developed in association with the SCO, the Armistice Bells project asked members of the public to record their local church bells, resulting in over 100 contributions being received from across Scotland and bell sounds from Galloway to Orkney providing the source material for the electronics part of the piece.

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra gave the world premieres of the work in St Andrews, Edinburgh and Glasgow at the start of November.

Martin Suckling (pictured), whose parents Colin and Catherine are long standing members of the Helensburgh orchestra, was SCO Associate Composer from 2013-2018. His work has been championed by many leading orchestras and ensembles including the London Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Ensemble, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and the London Contemporary Orchestra. He is currently Senior Lecturer in Composition at the University of York.

The programme for Saturday’s concert, conducted by Robert Baxter, is completed with performances of Vaughan Williams Symphony No 2 – A London Symphony and ‘Eventyr’, a tone poem for orchestra by Delius, who took a Norwegian fairy tale as his inspiration for the piece.

Tickets for the concert in the Victoria Halls, which starts at 7.45pm, are priced £10/£6 students and are available from orchestra members, The Scandinavian Shop, Victoria Halls and at the door on the night. Primary school children get in free when accompanied by an adult.

More information on HOS can be found at www.h-o-s.co.uk, on Facebook or e-mailing info@h-o-s.co.uk. The orchestra is always looking for new members and is currently recruiting for all strings (violin, viola, cello and double bass – but especially violins), tenor and bass trombone and French horn so if you’re around Grade 5 standard or equivalent and interested in joining, please get in touch to find out more.