Over the last few weeks, I have been enjoying writing a short work for the fabulous Sarah Watts, for solo contrabass clarinet. This will be included in a collection of new works for low clarinet (called Ten Wee Drams), with the first performance at the recently-opened Isle of Raasay Distillery, on the 11th of April. There are also many other (more famous) composers involved in writing short works for the series, such as Stuart MacRae, Bill Sweeney, Jane Stanley, Piers Hellawell and Alasdair Nicolson.
The title of my piece - The Illicit Still - originates from the fact that the Raasay Distillery is the first legal distillery on the island (!); I have therefore attempted to recreate a number of mechanical sounds from the distilling process on the instrument (hissing, dripping, humming and bubbling). The title is also taken from a pub in Aberdeen with the same name, where I spent many hours in my student days (when I probably should have been doing something else...).