Theatrical Works - Ballet

The Pied Piper of Hamelin

Music: Erik Chisholm
Choreography: Marjory Middleton

Written for the Scottish Ballet Society, this ballet was given 15 performances by it in the Lyric Theatre in December 1937. The Ballet lasts about 30 minutes, is scored for a small orchestra and makes an excellent Christmas entertainment, particularly as was the case when coupled with Humperdink’s opera “Hansel and Gretel”. Miss Middleton’s adaptation of Browning’s famous poem is both witty and choreographically effective.

The Forsaken Mermaid

Music: Erik Chisholm (1936)
Choreography: Margaret Morris
Design: Andrew Taylor-Elder
First Performance 6th December 1940, Lyric Theatre, Glasgow

It is the first full length Scottish Ballet to be written and has been successfully performed by the Scottish Orchestra and the BBC Scottish Orchestra in suite form. The fifth movement- based on a Skye air-“Alastain M’ansachd”- is a gem, and the work contains a variety of moods and rhythms clothed in brilliant orchestral colours, which should make for popularity. The last part is wildly dramatic and brings a thrilling conclusion to a fine work.

Listen to Music Clip: The Wooing from the recently released two piano version.

The Earth Shapers

Music: Erik Chisholm
Choreography: Margaret Morris
Costumes & Décor: William Crosbie
First performance 28th November 1941, Lyric Theatre, Glasgow

Recent Production

In April 2013 Jonathan Burnett, Director of Edinburgh Ballet Circle, gave the entire ballet in its first production for over 70 years.

The Hoodie Craw

Music: Erik Chisholm
Choreography: Margaret Morris
Décor & costumes: Robert Frame

Scottish Tour November December, 1948.

Other Ballets

The Piobaireachd; Ballet in Four scenes
A Woodland Tale; ballet Riddell Hunter arr, for 2 pianos, voices and small orchestra.

Reminiscences of the Celtic Ballet

By William Maclellan from Third Eye Centre, published Glasgow 1985

I became a habitué of the newly formed Celtic Ballet Club, and performed in the first two ballets, The Forsaken Mermaid and The Earth Shapers. I was given minor roles-the Mermaid’s Sea King father or a fisherman-which required the minimum of technique.

The Celtic ballet performed The Forsaken Mermaid ballet (with music by Erik Chisholm) at the old Lyric Theatre in December 1940. Erik Chisholm’s interest and research into Celtic music had drawn him to Margaret Morris and the Forsaken Mermaid was probably her best ballet. The design and décor by Andrew Taylor-Elder were quite ravishing, capturing the clear colours of the Western Isles in the backcloths and costumes. At that time Erik Chisholm still lived in Glasgow, and he and Wight Henderson played the music (also written for orchestra) on two pianos and soon everyone was singing the lovely Gaelic air which Chisholm used in the wooing scene between Allan and the Mermaid, who had appeared from the sea into the magic island of Skye.

The Forsaken Mermaid, Hoodie Craw CD 2 piano arrangement with pianists Murray McLachlan and Graham Scott was released in August by ECT Records. It can now be purchased online from the Trust.