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The 9th of September 2013 marks the 500th anniversary of The Battle of Flodden. The battle was a national tragedy that led to the death of 15,000 Scots and English soldiers, 100 noblemen and the Scottish King, James IV. Yet apart from the north of Northumberland, these catastrophic events are largely unknown in England, despite their influence in shaping British and European politics for the next 100 years, culminating with the Union of the English and Scottish crowns in 1603.

As part of the programme of projects and events on both sides of the border commemorating the anniversary of the battle, The Maltings Theatre presents a new work drawing on the traditions and forms of opera, contemporary, classical and traditional music composed by its CEO & Artistic Director, Matthew Rooke.

World premiered at the Perth Concert Hall in September 2011, Flyting is an epic, kaleidoscopic musical exploration of 500 years of Scottish and African History. It is an exciting, accessible mixture of classical, contemporary, African and traditional folk music that takes its name from an exuberant form of renaissance Scottish poetry, the “rap” of its day.

Flyting starts at the fabulous court of James IV. Fascinated by Africans and their culture, James IV's accounts detail the money, gifts and attention lavished upon the "blak maidens" of his court. In addition to a troupe of African musicians and dancers, the king had his own African drummer as he toured the distant parts of his kingdom and the stars of his international courtly entertainments were two African noblewomen. Intriguingly, some scholars believe this is the real origin of England's Morris Dancing tradition!

Flyting asks the question "wha's like us?" and perhaps finds some unexpected answers.

This evocative work which showcases the talents of the acclaimed whistle-player and piper, Fraser Fifield; award-winning singer and harpist, Corinna Hewat; international opera stars, Donald Maxwell and Gweneth-Ann Jeffers; percussion wizard, Olly Cox; and the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland.

The second-half of the evening will explore the Northumbrian side of the border with a fabulous work for Northumbrian pipes, strings and saxophone in a new edition of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies' Kettletoft Inn, featuring Berwick's very own Northumbrian Pipes wonder, Alice Burns. To be followed by a new celebratory closing piece that will draw together the wealth Northumbrian and Scottish talent accompanied by the orchestra.

For more information on the variety of events being held on both sides of the border to commemorate the 500th anniversary go to

Composed by Matthew Rooke
2h approx (including interval)
Twitter: @Flodden1513Eco
Video: Matthew Rooke discusses Flyting in 2011

Year: 2013

The Maltings Theatre & Cinema is operated by The Maltings (Berwick) Trust Registered Charity No: 701194