The Scotsman Sessions #247: Louise Goodwin

Welcome to the award-winning Scotsman Sessions. With performing arts activity curtailed for the foreseeable future, we are commissioning a series of short video performances from artists all around the country and releasing them on, with introductions from our critics. Here, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s principal percussionist Louise Goodwin performs a Chaconne in F by Louis Couperin, originally composed for harpsichord, but played here on a vibraphone

With Covid restrictions relaxing over the last few months, Louise Goodwin – the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s principal percussionist – has found herself increasingly busy, even if it’s been in sometimes unusual situations.

"We’ve been doing lots of live recordings," she says, “and it’s been amazing to be able to play music with people again – even if it’s quite difficult to perform with a concert mindset without an audience."

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The recordings, however, have also provided some unexpected insights. “It’s been interesting to watch myself play on the videos – in a concert, you never usually get the opportunity. The analytical part of my brain has found that – well, interesting! There are so many things you do as a performer that you’re not even aware of, as they’ve just become second nature.”

Goodwin has also masterminded two of the orchestra’s online programmes – including one of its more adventurous offerings, bringing together Purcell with Pärt, Reich and Andriessen, with revelatory results – and has developed a neat sideline in presenting the videos, too.

"That’s been completely new to me, and it’s been really fun. Chatting to fellow percussionist Colin Currie, for example, was brilliant. I’m not sure how I’d feel about standing up on a stage in front of an audience and doing the same thing, though.”

She’s picked a Chaconne in F by Louis Couperin for her Scotsman Session, originally for harpsichord, but played here on a vibraphone.

“I haven’t heard any other percussionist playing it, so you could even say it’s my own arrangement of the piece,” she says. “There’s virtually no repertoire for us percussionists before the 20th century, so we have to be very adept at stealing from earlier music. I always think harpsichordists sound like they’ve got 40 fingers when they play music like this, and I’ve got to make it work with four sticks and a range of just three octaves. But I’ve always enjoyed Baroque music, and I think you can just tell when a piece is going to work on percussion – this one sits under the hands very well.”

For more on Louise Goodwin, see

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