Eighth century stone at Brodie to inspire new composition

Rodney's Stone cross face seen through openwork sea monster
Rodney’s Stone cross face seen through openwork sea monster

SCOTLAND’S HERITAGE and creative arts are to be celebrated on the grounds of Brodie Castle through music composed by traditional fiddler Paul Anderson.

‘Rodney’s Stone’ on the grounds of the castle is to be the centrepiece of the work.

Carved in the eighth century combining a cross and interlaced design on one side with enigmatic Pictish symbols on the other, the monumental stone may have originally been set up as a preaching stone from which the word of the Gospel could be spread.

Through the centuries it was moved to various different locations, and used for a variety of purposes. It was finally placed near the entrance gate to Brodie Castle in the 1830s, where it is now cared for by the National Trust for Scotland.

Since 2009 the Trust has been focusing on Rodney’s Stone, widening public awareness of the measures it has been taking to conserve the monument through an innovative creative arts programme.

In the latest phase of the project, northeast musician Anderson has undertaken a commission to create a new piece of music inspired by the Pictish monument’s chequered history.

Trust Archaeologist Dr Shannon Fraser is thrilled by the resulting fiddle suite: “The stone had been travelling from place to place for more than a thousand years, and Paul’s music both captures that journey and extends it into the future, with his hope that the suite becomes part of local musical tradition.

“I love the idea that every time a musician plays this piece, it will add another layer to the story of the stone and its wanderings.”

The first performance will take place at Rodney’s Stone on September 27 as the culmination of an afternoon of activities on a Pictish theme in the grounds of the Castle.

Visitors are invited to ‘Pict your way to Brodie’ and join artists, storytellers, archaeologists and musicians as they explore the Pictish past in different ways.

Trombonist John Kenny will provide a rare opportunity to hear the striking sounds of ancient instruments, including a replica of the Deskford Carnyx, a war trumpet discovered only 40 miles from Brodie Castle, which would have been familiar to the Picts’ immediate ancestors.

More information about this free event is available from Brodie Castle on 01309-641371.

John Kenny and replica Deskford Carnyx, iron age war trumpet
John Kenny and replica Deskford Carnyx, iron age war trumpet