The final instalment of this major project to record all of
Haydn’s settings of British folksongs. Two extraordinary Scottish singers are teamed up with the Haydn Trio Eisenstadt. What better combination to capture the local flavour of the text and Haydn’s witty, touching and often humorous music than a Viennese and Scottish team?
When Haydn composed these settings, Scotland was
experiencing what was termed ‘the Scottish Enlightenment’
in both culture and political influence within the Union. Although ruled from Westminster, Scotland retained its own religious, legal and educational policies and many of the most creative and influential Scots were doing very well south of the border. The bloodshed of the 1745 rebellion, although never to be forgotten, was now overtaken by a remarkable flourishing of cultural, academic and political institutions.
Music making was prevalent among all classes of Scottish society, and soon the fashion for Scottish music spread to
London were many expat Scots had settled in jobs at Court or in Government. Haydn, like Beethoven a few years later, had a particular challenge when composing these songs. Haydn was sent the melody of the original highland tune, but no words! He added what were called ‘symphonies and rittornellos’ between the verses, and these are often violently at odds with the sentiment of the lyrics! As H.C Robbins Landon commented ‘ an arrangement that would seem insane to any modern folk song arranger schooled in the methods of Bartok and Kodaly’. The commissioners of the songs were at pains to both iron out the colourful robust nature of the original Highland verse, and to keep the music simple!
Beethoven was informed that ‘there were not twelve people
in Scotland who could play his quartets’. Nevertheless, Haydn’s Scottish Songs were popular at the outset, even when much of his chamber music was neglected, and continues to this day to be an attractive backwater in his remarkable output.
- Jamie MacDougal was born in Glasgow. He has sung at many major festivals including Salzburg, Edinburgh, Aldeburgh and Perth in Australia. He has also given recital accompanied by Roger Vignols, Malcolm Martineau and Graham Johnson. He has also worked with conductors Marin Alsopp, Richard Hickox, Daniel Harding and Ivan Fischer. He also presents the radio programme ‘Grace Notes’ for Radio Scotland.
- Lorna Anderson was also born in Glasgow, and has performed with The Sixteen, Les Arts Florrisants, The London Classical Players and the OAE. She has performed at the Salzburg and Aldeburgh festivals, and has recorded The Fairy Queen with Harry Christophers, Haydn Masses with Hickox and Handel’s L’Allegro with Robert King.
- "in the vigorous songs he (MacDougal) is excellent ... Equally consistent is the standard of performance. The singers ideally suited to their tasks, the instrumentalists unfailingly lively and stylish in their playing" (John Steane, Gramophone).
- Full texts and comprehensive booklet notes included.