A work for solo violin and orchestra, commissioned by Donald McDonald for the 21st birthday of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the 60th birthday of the composer. It was first performed in November 1993 in Glasgow, by James Clark and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Maxwell Davies.
The spell is one quoted by George Mackay Brown in his book An Orkney Tapestry: 'Let not plough be put to acre except a fiddle cross first the furrow.' Davies's dancing concerto imagines the fiddler following a route from field to field, from dance to dance, accompanied by a bunch of companions in the form of an orchestra. As the music goes on, so it gets brighter and livelier, moving from the dark colouring of clarinets, bassoons and strings to full ensemble with prominent brass and (solo) tuned percussion, as if the dancers as much as the fields were beginning to glow with new life.
Score (miniature). Duration c. 20mins.