The Haddo Baroque Ensemble will play:
Four Airs for the Seasons – James Oswald (1711-1769)
- The Campanula for Violin and Continuo.
Tempo di Minuetto; Musette.
- The Monk’s Hood for Recorder and Continuo
Aria; Tempo di Minuetto; Gavotta.
- The Belvedere for Gamba and Continuo.
Amoroso Largo; Allegro.
- The Marvel of Peru for Recorder, Violin and Continuo
Scortese; Comic; Musette.
James Oswald, born in Crail, in Fife, was a dancing master, fiddler, composer and publisher, and became chamber musician to George III in 1761. Musical life in London in the mid eighteenth century was in a rich vein of variety and quality. Not only were there established opera companies and the beginnings of subscription concerts, but many of the 150 Pleasure Gardens – several with their own orchestras – ensured accessibility of a wide swathe of audiences. Scottishness was regarded as something strangely romantic and distant, and this partly accounts for the popularity of composers such as Oswald. (The Scotese and the Comic movements of The Marvel of Peru are just two instances of an exotic quality attached to matters Scottish.)
Oswald’s Airs for the Seasons are effectively sonatas of several movements which tapped into a rich vein of appeal, not only to musicians, but also to growing enthusiasm for plants and flowers. The many contemporary herbals further helped encourage the study of plants for medicinal and healing properties. The first set of Oswald’s 96 ‘Airs’ (two complete sets of 12 for each of the four seasons) were published in the 1750s, and the five sonatas from the season of Autumn are entirely characteristic. Oswald’s experience as a dancing master is never far away in the many dances that these sonatas contain – Minuets, Gavottes, and, at the close of The Night Shade, a positively rollicking Hornpipe. Between these lively movements are sensitively shaped melodic inspirations, with frequent modal inflections. The sighing sadness of The Belvedere, and the cheerful Pastorale of The Night Shade are but two examples of beautiful musical characterization.
- Ruaraidh Wishart – recorder
- Andrew Birse – violin
- Rodolphe Blanchard-Koval – viola da gamba
- Roger B. Williams – harpsichord
In association with the Scottish Poetry Library and the Elphinstone Institute, George Gunn, Aonghas MacNeacail, Liz Niven, Gerda Stevenson and Sheila Templeton will read from their work in their own voices.
After a short interval, there will be a panel discussion with all the poets on the challenges and opportunities of writing in their own voices, chaired by Professor Peter Reid with Asif Khan, Director of the Scottish Poetry Library and Professor Tom McKean, Director of the Elphinstone Institute.
This performance will be followed by an opportunity for the audience to meet the artists.