The fresh lyricism of the opening theme, largely pentatonic and set against a drone bass, is the most obvious evidence of its Scottishness, and it is this theme from which nearly all the subsequent material is derived. Not even a change of key from F to A major, and time signature from 6/8 to 2/4, can disguise the close relationship between it and the second subject.
But the warmth of this lyricism is soon interrupted by an element of adventurous mischief which in turn seems to generate more serious consequences. A climax drawn from the opening theme subsides into doubts, ending with a solo for bass clarinet which leads to the recapitulation. As the piece nears its end, the heraldic versions of the main theme become more prominent and, despite a brief reminder of mischief, build powerfully on a grinding ostinato to the final climax. Just as one thinks that all is going to end in splendour, the woodwind reclaim the beautiful flowing lyricism of the main Scottish theme, as Lamond returns in spirit to the rivers and glens of Scotland whence the subject of his portrait came.
from notes by John Purser © 2004