A music-and-dance collaboration exploring Beethoven's Grosse Fugue and works by Bach and Lutosławski

05/10/2018 by

Following the international success of Goldberg Variations - ternary patterns for insomnia, Scottish Ensemble and Andersson Dance present the world premiere of their second music-and-dance collaboration in Glasgow, Dundee and Inverness this November.

Fusing music and movement, musician and dancer, Prelude - skydiving from a dream explores the very human paradox at the root of three extraordinary pieces of music: our need to seek out order amongst disorder, and our urge to tear it all apart.

Blending dynamic, inquisitive, contemporary choreography with razor-sharp live musical performance, Prelude is centred around the full performance of Beethoven’s notorious Grosse Fugue – a piece that has been both celebrated and derided, lauded and dismissed. The production will also include a selection of extracts from Bach’s The Art of Fugue and Lutosławski’s Preludes and Fugues for 13 Solo Strings.

One of the most distinctive elements of Prelude will be its approach to musicians and dancers sharing the stage. Guided by choreographer Örjan Andersson, whose choreographic style tenderly plays with elements such as humanity, vulnerability and humour, musicians and dancers become equal partners on stage, blurring their roles and breaking the rules and expectations that can often apply to classical music performance. 
Scottish Ensemble's second collaboration with the Swedish contemporary dance company follows the international success of their first, Goldberg Variations - ternary patterns for insomnia. Premiered in Sweden and Scotland in Autumn 2015, the companies’ first co-production was a fresh, playful, witty re-imagining of Bach’s beloved Goldberg Variations.

Having received invitations to tour across the globe, the production has since been performed at venues and festivals across Europe, including the Thuringia Bach Festival and contemporary dance forum Tanzmesse, as well as at Shanghai Concert Hall (October 2017), the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts (April 2018), and London’s Barbican Centre (July 2018).

Following performances in Glasgow, Dundee and Inverness this November, Prelude - skydiving from a dream will receive its Swedish premiere in March 2019, on a 6-date tour across Sweden including two performances at Stockholm’s Dansens Hus. 

Jonathan Morton, Artistic Director and Leader of Scottish Ensemble said: 

"Working with Örjan on Goldberg Variations - ternary patterns for insomnia was an incredibly intense and rewarding experience for all of us, so it felt entirely natural to explore what another collaboration might look like. We wanted to build on the physicality of the musicians and push it further, whilst musically I was keen to bring together different voices.

So, Bach is still there (with short bursts of cosmic counterpoint from The Art of Fugue), but he’s now rubbing shoulders with Lutosławski’s sonically exuberant Preludes as well as Beethoven’s enigmatic Grosse Fugue. The challenge for Andersson Dance and SE is to find the alchemy to bring all of these elements together.  I look forward to sharing this hugely exciting quest with our audiences in November."  

Örjan Andersson, Choreographer of Andersson Dance said:
"Whilst we were on tour with our first collaboration, Jonathan [Morton] and I got talking about form in music and dance – or, more specifically, the similarities between the two. In Goldberg, we experimented with this idea of the performers blurring their roles. With this second piece, we want to challenge them to perform in a way they’ve never done before. I’m very much looking forward to breaking new artistic ground with these amazing artists."

Prelude - skydiving from a dream is the major cross-artform collaboration of Scottish Ensemble’s ambitious 2018/19 season, which spans June 2018 to May 2019 and comprises a broad range of events, from concerts in collaboration with high-profile soloists and musicians to community-focused and creative learning events.

So far this season, SE has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe (presenting Anno, its collaboration with Anna and Eleanor Meredith) and delivered the 5- and 4-star rated Pause, an event blending live music with discussion exploring the effects of music, with guest speakers including broadcaster and writer Dr Richard Holloway and neuroscientist Dr Guido Orgs.

Speaking about the plans for 2018/19, Artistic Director Jonathan Morton said:

“Each event as part of our new season has been conceived and developed with the spirit of collaboration at its heart. Whilst this ethos has been increasingly informing our work across the past four years, as we step across into our next organisation-wide three-year plan, it's rewarding to be able to see this creative spark linking all events of the 2018-19 season.

Whether we're working with high-profile classical soloists, renowned musicians from other traditions, companies from other artistic fields or members of the community, we will not be working alone. It is a season of creative partnership, developing ideas, artistic practices and engagement on both sides, as well as, we hope, amongst the audiences who come to witness or participate in these experiences.”



Beethoven - Grosse Fugue

Plus extracts from

J. S. Bach - The Art of Fugue

And preludes from

Lutosławski - 13 Preludes and Fugue for Solo Strings


Listings information:

Tramway, Glasgow

Fri 9 – Sat 10 November, 7:30 pm

0845 330 3501


Dundee Rep Theatre, Dundee

Tue 13 November, 7:30 pm

01382 223 530


Eden Court, Inverness

Thu 15 November, 7:30 pm

01463 234 234