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Simon Dobson's work takes Perth's great River Tay as its inspiration and attempts to portray the eternal nature of the river in both its never-ending flow and its timelessness. The river becomes the omnipresent narrator of the work and as such flows throughout the piece in various guises. There are three movements in And When the River Told, but they flow without a break from one to the next; each one begins with the ancient river and shifts into one of three episodes, centered around a different aspect of Perth and its history in the 800 years since it was granted a charter in 1210 by King William the Lion of Scotland, confirming it as a Royal Burgh. And When the River Told was commissioned by the Scottish Brass Band Association for the Scottish Open Brass Band Championship, held on 20 November 2010 and the Perth Concert Hall.