Clava – piano improvisation

A piano improvisation from 10th February 2022. Named for Clava Cairns, a complex of neolithic burial chambers near my home town of Inverness. They evoke, for me, an unusual mixture of strangeness, beauty, sadness and yet familiarity. I didn’t know the piece was going to be called that when I improvised it, but when I listened back I was reminded of the place somehow.

Lichen-covered rocks in a Neolithic burial mound






Images: lichen on rock (detail); stones inside one of the Clava cairns. For me, the repetitive nature of the simple minor-chord music relates to the timelessness of the cairns, changing only incredibly slowly over millennia, while the uncertain direction of the eventual musical resolution (major or minor?) is a reflection of the uncertainty of our own lives – and ends.

I release my first album of improvisations earlier this year, and I’m planning to release a second one later this year – this is an early track from it. More to follow, when it comes…S

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