The video above was filmed live at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall during the recording of an interview for BBC Radio 4. Sue performs her Celtic piece ‘The Homecoming’ and more of her music was featured throughout the documentary ‘Derek Tangye: The Cornish Gardener’. She talked to John McCarthy about the similarities of her life with that of the author Tangye. The programme was produced by Stephen Garner.
Violinist Sue Aston graduated from the Birmingham Conservatoire and freelanced with many orchestras as well as doing sessions for rock and folk bands. It was also during this time that Sue appeared on classical recordings, radio and television, both nationally and internationally, and worked with eminent musicians such as Simon Rattle, Nigel Kennedy, Peter Donohoe, Yehudi Menuhin, Sir Charles Groves and Esa Pekka Salonen.
Although classically trained, Sue was always a musical rebel, often listening to Punk and Rock music alongside violin concertos. As a young child, Sue would interpret violin virtuoso showpieces, but improvise and change them, creating her own musical soundscapes.
Sacred Landscapes CD GLCD1001
After playing on Gordon Giltrap’s ‘Music for the Small Screen’ album, Sue knew it was time to venture forth and write and record her first solo album. ‘Sacred Landscapes’ was released in 1999 and featured 16 original tracks all relating to the legend and myths of Celtic Cornwall.
“I had developed the idea then of sitting in the Cornish landscape and letting the music come to me. It is how I still compose my music to this day”.
The album gained a grass roots following and with its folky influences Sue played some gigs with the Australian singer/songwriter, Pete Hawkes and supported the folk legends Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick.
The violin solo ‘Madron’ from the Sacred Landscapes album, was played extensively on SKY TV. The album also features ‘Pagan Celebration’, now better known as ‘Dance of the Red Glove’ , which has been adopted by the Goldsithney Charter Fair as its theme tune.
Inspirational Journey CD GLCD1002
This was the album that really put Sue’s music out into the world. Released in early 2005 it quickly gained ground when the promotional videos started being shown on SKY TV.
The album features ‘The Homecoming’ and is one of Sue’s most popular pieces, and has been viewed well over 1,500,000 times on YouTube. It has also been used in weddings around the world.
The BBC1 ‘Heaven and Earth Show’ also interviewed Sue about her composition work on one of their episodes about the Cornish landscape.
“My music comes to me not only in the stillness of nature but also in her wildest moments. I can hear the strings in the branches of the trees, the melody within every crashing wave. All I can do is try and capture what my heart perceives”.
As a composer there is one single influence that goes to the very core of Sue Aston’s music and that is the Cornish landscape. Sue moved to Cornwall in 2004 with her husband and young family. She was at last living in the location which fuelled her musical inspiration.
“I have absorbed a great deal of inspiration from the natural landscape, particularly the isolated areas of Cornwall which are rich in legend and folklore”
Reflections of Cornwall DVD GLDVD1003
The DVD was released to bring together all the videos being shown on SKY TV and YouTube. The DVD was filmed to show off the beautiful Cornish landscape which influences Sue’s music and to enable her fans to know more about her.
Between Worlds CD GLCD1004
‘Between Worlds’ is Sue Aston’s most ambitious work to date. Recorded in Penzance and featuring a host of Cornish musical talent, it is already being hailed as her best work. Sue’s talent as a composer comes to the fore on this album as many of the tracks feature Sue’s haunting violin melodies soaring above a musical backdrop provided by string quartet, guitars, flute, piano and voice.
‘Between Worlds oozes with talent, each piece a perfect landscape of Cornwall painted by Sue Aston’s violin playing. From the soft idyllic side of The Final Homecoming to the original and uplifting Celtic sounds of Mazey Dazey, it’s easy to see why she is so vital to the classical scene, both in Cornwall and further afield. Between Worlds will no doubt only see her importance and popularity soar.’
Craig Broad ‘My Cornwall’ magazine
So is it Celtic or Classical Music?
“Classical or Celtic Music is not a specific style or sound to me, it is a creative desire to channel the natural landscape into the universal language of music. My muse is the granite cliffs and the rolling moors of Kernow, her legends, her culture and people.”
‘Sue Aston’s is modern Cornish music, taking and interpreting themes and harmonies letting them be heard again. It is as relevant as Malcolm Arnold’s Padstow Lifeboat and Cornish Dances and Bax’s Tintagel – perhaps more so’. John Colby
‘As a composer, Sue Aston is surely in touch with the vibrant revival of Celtic music in Cornwall, as an instrumentalist she expertly brings those compositions to life in an emotional and classical form. Her work reverberates from her West Penwith home and is surely without equal.
Sue’s music has featured on many television programmes and radio stations, but to me, the one thing which counts above all else is her intimate connection with Cornwall and the Cornish’. Michael John Chappell