Scotlands Songs

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Winter Night

This song combines an old Gaelic tune, a Russian poem remade by a Scots maker, two Scots traditional singers and four classically trained Russian singers.


Snow flew across the ground,

Swept it like a broom.

Bright upon the table the candle burned.

Snowflakes swarmed like midgies,

At the window of the room,

Bright upon the table the candle burned.


Arrows and circles

Grew on the windowpane.

Bright upon the table the candle burned.

Ceiling shadows clasped their hands,

Crossed their feet and fates.

Bright upon the table the candle burned.


Shoes thudded on the floor,

A wax tear stained a dress.

Bright upon the table the candle burned.

All was lost inside the white,

The snowy-haired darkness.

Bright upon the table the candle burned.


Flames flickered angel-bright,

Wings like crosses in the night,

Bright upon the table the candle burned.

All through February

The snow scoured the ground,

And bright upon the table the candle burned


Hear the song performed by Christine Kydd, Ewan McVicar, and the Chorus Quartet of the city of Perm. 


The tune is that used for ‘My Ain Countrie’.

The Russian poem is by Boris Pasternak, one of his series of ‘Lara Poems’ that are included in the novel Dr Zhivago. This novel was written in the Russian Urals city of Perm. When Ewan and Christine visited Perm they met and became friends with the Chorus Quartet. Ewan subsequently took English translations of some of Pasternak’s poems, metrified them and set them to traditional Scots tunes. These pieces were sent over the Internet to Alexei Kopylov of the Quartet, and he and Alexander Rogozhkin worked to create arrangements and send them back to Ewan.

When Christine and Ewan visited Perm again for a Festival of Scottish Culture the piece was premiered there. It was later performed in Scotland when the Quartet came to tour here with Ewan and Christine. This recording was made in a concert one November evening in Edinburgh in September 2004. A few hours later Alexei Kopylov was walking home when he was struck by a car and very severely injured. He has since made an astonishing recovery, but still cannot perform with the Quartet.