The Scottish Connection
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Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland
In 1829, at age 20, Felix Mendelssohn walked the Highlands of Scotland from Edinburgh to the Western Islands. At the time, he was still unsure whether to make music his profession. His father hoped he would join the family banking business. His mother saw him becoming a writer. He himself thought he might be a painter. But in seeking artistic inspiration from nature, Mendelssohn’s Scottish adventure would end up deciding his future . . . as a composer.
The fact is, Scotland has exerted a considerable hold on the imagination of many of our musical greats--not only Mendelssohn, but Beethoven, Haydn, Berlioz, Bruch, and Debussy, among others, all the way up to the present day, with composers Malcolm Arnold and Peter Maxwell Davies.
Only some of them actually visited Scotland, yet they all wrote music on Scottish subjects—real or imaginary.
In this hour, a sampling of some of those works, and the surprising stories behind them.
|Haydn: Scottish Songs “The Sutor’s Daughter”
||Jamie MacDougall, Lorna Anderson, Haydn Trio Eisenstadt
||Brilliant Classics 92278
|Beethoven: Scottish Folk Songs (“Faithfu’ Johnie”)
||Ann Mackay, English Piano Trio
|Mocheles: Anticipations of Scotland
||Howard Shelley, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.
|Mendelssohn: Symphonies 3 & 4
||London Symphony Orchestra, Georg Solti
||London (Decca) 414 665-2
|Berlioz: Overtures (“Rob Roy”)
||San Diego Symphony Orchestra, Yoav Talmi
|Debussy: Orchestral Works (Marche Escossaise)
||Ulster Orchestra, Yan Pascal Tortelier,
||Chandos CHAN 10144
|Bruch: Scottish Fantasy
||Jascha Heifetz, New Symphony Orchestra of London, Malcolm Sargent,
||RCA Victor 09026-61745-2
|Scottish Overtures (“Tam O’ Shanter”)
||Scottish National Orchestra, Alexander Gibson
||Chandos CHAN 8379
|A Celebration of Scotland (Maxwell Davies)
||Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Peter Maxwell Davies
||Unicorn-Kanchana DKP 9070
|Kenneth McKellar: Robert Burns, A Tribute (“Scots Wha Hae”)
|The Corries: Flowers of Scotland (“Kelvin Grove”)
||GB Productions GBPCD005
Earl of Ross March (Roddy MacLeod)