“I think for a classically trained composer, the dance world is such an attractive place as it encapsulates the same musical ethos. It is principally about sound and scale, tension and release, power and detail – much like the orchestral canvas perhaps.”
Classically trained in Glasgow’s RSAMD, Martyn Bennett became stifled by the lack of space afforded in the environment he was in. On the side he returned to the folk music he had learned as a child, after moving to Scotland from Canada. He immersed himself in traditional music, and revised the techniques he had forgotten during his time playing classical violin. He also explored the technological side of music: sampling, mixing and experimenting with beats.
Martyn released six albums, including Glen Lyon, a song-cycle sampling natural sounds from our environment and his mother’s singing, and MacKay’s Memoirs, commissioned for the opening of the Scottish Parliament and recorded by the orchestra at the City of Edinburgh Music School (where he had previously studied) the morning after his death. Martyn suffered both testicular cancer and Hodgkin’s lymphoma, passing away 30th January 2005. The Celtic Connections music festival opened this year with “Martyn Bennett Day” a tribute to his work in the music industry and also in making traditional music more accessible to a wider audience. His ability to fuse the ancient and the contemporary is possibly his greatest achievement.
From Grit (2003):
From Bothy Culture (1997):