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Burns as Music

06 Feb 07 - 11:05 AM (#1959105)
Subject: Burns as Music
From: Gern

I've always loved Burns poetry and wanted to here his songs performed, but, culturally-deprived American that I am, I didn't realize until recently so many musicians still perform his music. Who do your folks recommend? What performances and recordings do Burns and his listeners the most justice?


06 Feb 07 - 11:17 AM (#1959119)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: GUEST

Dick Gaughan's 'Now Westlin Wind' is superb.


06 Feb 07 - 11:28 AM (#1959130)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: GUEST

...in fact Dick performs several Burns songs.

See Dick's song index.


06 Feb 07 - 11:45 AM (#1959146)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: JulieF

Andy M Stewart's - Songs of Burns ( or title to that effect)
Eddi Reader 'S album

or the whole 12 album series - The songs of Burns ( can't remember the label ). They are failrly uniformly wonderful.

Can't remember a time when I didn't know at least a couple of burns songs so I must have learnt them at school but it always amazes me when I sing sonething like Ae Fond Kiss who many people on the folk circuit don't know them.

Enjoy your listening
J


06 Feb 07 - 11:52 AM (#1959159)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: Jack Campin

Jean Redpath, Rod Paterson or just about anybody BUT Eddi Reader.


06 Feb 07 - 11:58 AM (#1959167)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: JulieF

Matter of opinion Jack - I would never perform the songs like she does and love many traditional interpretations but I also enjoy that album and it certainly brought the songs to other people who might not have heard them.   When I have sung in sessions in Ireland I lost track of the number of people who have come up and talked about her work but who then said that they really enjoyed my far more traditional versions.

J


06 Feb 07 - 12:04 PM (#1959172)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: ranger1

Castlebay has a recorded a number of songs by Burns. Their CDs are available through CD BAby.


06 Feb 07 - 12:16 PM (#1959183)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: Effsee

"The complete songs of Robert Burns" is the 13 CD set (CD12 is a double) it's on the Linn Records label. I saw it on e-bay not long ago for about 50 if memory serves.


06 Feb 07 - 12:21 PM (#1959195)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: eddie1

The lovely Gill Bowman has an album of Burns' love songs
TOASTING THE LASSIES (1994) Greentrax Recordings CDTRAX 085


Eddie


06 Feb 07 - 12:47 PM (#1959227)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: GUEST

Alastair McDonald sings Robert Burns, CDLBP 2020 Lochshore Records.


06 Feb 07 - 01:23 PM (#1959269)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: Murray MacLeod

The lovely Gill Bowman does indeed have that album of Burns songs , Eddie.

Yours truly had the pleasure of playing backing guitar on several of the tracks, on my Lakewood, which you may or may not remember.

How's it going with you btw, any chance of seeing you back at the Oak one of these days ?


06 Feb 07 - 01:44 PM (#1959291)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: Wolfgang

I didn't realize until recently so many musicians still perform his music.

Even the many German translations of his songs are still performed and there are new releases in German nearly each year.

One instance of the more classical music kind but I guess I could find instances from folk as well.

Wolfgang


06 Feb 07 - 01:47 PM (#1959293)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: Wolfgang

My link is a bad example for Burns as music for it only goes to some of his lyrics in German translation sung to completely different Schumann tunes.

Wolfgang


06 Feb 07 - 03:03 PM (#1959386)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: GUEST,leeneia

"culturally-deprived American that I am..."

Oh, please!


06 Feb 07 - 03:15 PM (#1959401)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: GUEST,Guest

Details of the 12 CD set of Burns songs here

http://www.robertburns.org/completesongs.shtml

...found from a link on this Roberts Burns web site

http://www.robertburns.org/

Big John


06 Feb 07 - 03:27 PM (#1959431)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: Murray MacLeod

Ohmigod, I just remembered it was Gill Hewitt's album of Burns songs I played guitar for, not Gill Bowman ...apologies to Gill B, she doesn't need anybody to play backing guitar for her, she is more than capable of doing it for herself


06 Feb 07 - 04:13 PM (#1959479)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: Barry Finn

Enter "Burns" & search in the data base there's a large number of his songs listed that many may not even know that some of them are from him.

JulieF, I have to agree with you on Jean Redpath's interpretations, she brings them across as more of parlor songs which may be more accurate but it's more than I care for,

If you're finding an interest in Scottish poets like Burns & their songs don't neglect others like Tannahill-the ploughman poet ("Oh, Are You Sleeping Maggie") or James Duff ("Lassie With The Yellow Coatie") or the many others. Burns will keep you busy for now though.
Good luck
Barry


06 Feb 07 - 04:21 PM (#1959490)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: mrdux

I've enjoyed Ewan MacColl's 1961 Folkways recording of the "Songs of Robert Burns," which is still available from the Smithsonian:

http://www.smithsonianglobalsound.org/containerdetail.aspx?itemid=1511

and a second vote for Jean Redpath.

michael


06 Feb 07 - 04:27 PM (#1959498)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: dick greenhaus

Just to point out that the Linn Set, as well as all the other current CDs mentioned here are available from CAMSCO Music, of course. At a discount.


06 Feb 07 - 06:15 PM (#1959668)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: GUEST

"Tannahill-the ploughman poet"?? Wasn't he the Weaver Poet Barry F.??


06 Feb 07 - 08:31 PM (#1959787)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: Joe_F

There is a book, _Burns: Poems and Songs_ (James Kinsley, Ed.; Oxford U.P., 1969) that has the tunes written out.


06 Feb 07 - 10:15 PM (#1959851)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: GUEST,Julia

Thanks, Ranger, for the plug.
Just a couple of points for those who object to the "parlor song" performancees. Burns, in fact, collected the songs and either "mended" or wrote new lyrics to them in order to preserve them. In many ways , he was one of the first "songcatchers". He then published the collection as Johnson's "Scots Musical Museum", intended for the parlor set. Although he got them originally from the "common folk" he felt he was giving them a chance of survival by presenting them to the upper class. In addition many of his lyrics have been posthumously set by all manner of formal composers, and actually have come back to us plebes!

If you want the REALLY earthy stuff, check out the Merry Muses of Caledonia....
BEst- Julia Lane /Castlebay


06 Feb 07 - 10:45 PM (#1959865)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: mg

absolutely Kenneth McKellar..doubt he is still alive but what a great silken voice...mg


06 Feb 07 - 11:46 PM (#1959890)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: GUEST,Boab

---and a third vote for Jean Redpath. Jean spent some time in the States--Montana, I think---and did some intensive research in cahoots with an American called Serge Hovey. They compiled several volumes of Burns' songs, all of which are sung by Jean using what was decided to be the original tunes as chosen/approved by the Poet himself. Two well-known examples are "Auld Lang Syne" and "Robin of Kyle" [to the tune "Dainty Davie"]. Highly recommended to any Burns fans.
   Kenneth McKellar? Aye---a grand singer, and a fair exponent of Burns songs---as long as said songs are suitable for singing by "operatic/Italian" trained voices. Ken actually improved dramatically after doing a t.v. mini-series with Alastair MacDonald and the above-mentioned Jean Redpath.


07 Feb 07 - 02:09 AM (#1959938)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: Barry Finn

Guest, yes he was thanks for the correction.

Barry


07 Feb 07 - 10:03 AM (#1959944)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: eddie1

Hi Murray
No plans for a return to Edinburgh in the near future but when I do I'll certainly drop in at The Oak. Lots of happy memories of singing there.
Give my best to everyone.
Even though I'm in a heathen country, I still managed a Burns Supper when I sang Ae Fond Kiss and Scots Wha Hae

Eddie


07 Feb 07 - 10:24 AM (#1959965)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: GUEST,Grimmy

If I'm not mistaken, Tony McManus is in the process of arranging the entire Burns canon for guitar and voice (and possibly other instruments).


07 Feb 07 - 10:41 AM (#1959984)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: masato sakurai

James C. Dick's The Songs of Robert Burns (1903) is a wealth of information, and still a must for those who are interested in Burns' songs. Click on FTP, and select djvu or pdf. Take care, they are very large files (536 pages in one file).


07 Feb 07 - 10:45 AM (#1959986)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: JulieF

There is an album of the songs of Robert Tannarhill which is defintely worth a listen and looks as if the first of a planned series.

Barry I was actually refering to Eddie Reader earlier on. I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't really listened much to Jean Redpath,a complete oversight in my musical education , especially as I sing a lot of Burns.

J


07 Feb 07 - 10:47 AM (#1959987)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: JulieF

Oh yes and the Merry Muses is a delight but I don#'t think I'ld ever have th guts to sing any of them.

J


07 Feb 07 - 10:52 AM (#1959993)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh

While I appreciate Julia's mention of James Johnson's "Scots Musical Museum" (6 vols, each of at least 100 songs, 1787-1803, Vols II-V effectively edited by RB himself), I very much think she's conflating TWO different collections of Scots music and song. It was surely
George Thomson's "Select Collection of Original Scotish Airs" which presented music, with "introductory and concluding symphonies" by the likes of Bishop, Haydn, Pleyel and Beethoven, for "people of condition"; each half-volume contained 25 songs, and RB did agree to contribute, stipulating that his verses were to be "above, or below, price". That is, he wouldn't write FOR money (tho', of course, he did make a bit of cash from selling his own collections of Poems- AFTER they had been written from "the impulse, not the wish").

Thomson's "Select Collection" was a magnificent Quarto, the sheet-music engraved on large copper-plates as was typical of collections WITH MUSIC at the time; Johnson's was unusual in that he had developed a method of simply striking the staves and notes on Pewter. It was, accordingly, much cheaper, and, like the many collections with words only (after all, the airs were familiar to everyone, and the majority of people didn't require a harpsichord accompaniment with thorough-bass for the violoncello), was well within the reach of what RB called "my compeers, the Common People".

Burns only saw one 1/2 Volume of the Select Collection; when Thomson sent him one (ONE!!!) copy, he also enclosed a 5 note. Burns was indignant - "you truly hurt me with your pecuniary package" - and swore that if GT ever attempted anything of the nature again then their correspondence was at an end. Quite apart from the subversion of RB's original statement re "priceless", what would it look like if he were concurrently writing for Thomson, for money, but sending words and indeed collected melodies to Johnson free of any charge? (Burns could write music, presumably after working out the melody on his fiddle and then transcribing the notes; two manuscripts are known). Fortunately, Thomson learnt sense, and confined himself to occasional gifts like a Paisley-pattern shawl for Jean. Burns continued to write to Thomson, and his letters include some of his own most valuable observations on the craft of song-making, together with some anecdotal material concerning some of those he made and/or collected.


07 Feb 07 - 10:54 AM (#1959995)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: GUEST

Don't forget Steeleye Span recoded several Burns songs back in the 70's.

Ian Campbell Folk Group did some even earlier.


07 Feb 07 - 11:45 AM (#1960060)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: Scrump

Firewalls? They would keep out Burns.

... I'll get me coat.

:D


07 Feb 07 - 11:46 AM (#1960061)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: Teribus

Also try, Ian Bruce's web site, although he has been based in Germany for years he has done some marvellous recordings of Burn's songs. Terrific voice, very accomplished musician.


07 Feb 07 - 12:02 PM (#1960084)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: Hawker

I'll second Ian Bruce - and as a descendant of Mr Burns, I have to say he does him proud! His CD Alloway Tales is excellent!
Cheers, Lucy


07 Feb 07 - 02:52 PM (#1960265)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: GUEST

MacColl's Merry Muses of Caledonia (probably unavailable) on the Dionysus label is superb, though the singing is very much early MacColl.
Jim Carroll


07 Feb 07 - 08:32 PM (#1960617)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: oggie

The Redpath/Hovey collaboration is interesting because he was a contemporary classical composer and the arrangements reflect that. Some are quite simple but a few are quite avant garde but well worth a listen. They recorded 7 Albums in all some of which are still available, Serge Hovey died of MND whilst the last one was being recorded.

There is also a film called "The Liberty Tree" which tells the story of the partnership. It was shown in the UK on Channel 4 way back soon after the channel started and I've never been able to locate it since but it was interesting and informative.

oggie


07 Feb 07 - 11:02 PM (#1960708)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: GUEST,DK

If you go to this site (http://www.internetradio.co.uk/andy.html) and click on the 8th Jan archive
you will hear several Burns' songs from different singers.


08 Feb 07 - 01:03 AM (#1960747)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: GUEST,Boab

Iain Bruce based in Germany? An' here was this auld exile thinkin' he was still in Livingston! Anybody know where brother Frazer is, and is he still performing?


08 Feb 07 - 09:00 AM (#1961073)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: autolycus

On the records of Burns I have,it's never clear if Burns has provided just the words,or the tunes too.

   If someone could clarify,I'd be obliged. Thanks in advance.






       Ivor


08 Feb 07 - 12:55 PM (#1961323)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: Effsee

Whilst googling for the Merry Muses of Caledonia I was surprised to learn that one Paul Clayton had recorded a LP of The MMs back in the '60s on the ELEKTRA label. It can still be had on e-bay and other such sites but it's pricey! Further research has found that he was well immersed in all kinds of folk song. He died in 1967 aged only 36.
Anyone know what happened to him?
Iona Records in Glasgow released a CD of the MMs in 1996, IRCD 035.
It has 19 tracks by such singers as Davy Steele, Robin Laing Tich Frier Gill Bowman & Fiona Forbes...well worth seeking out!


08 Feb 07 - 09:55 PM (#1961860)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: Effsee

I should have known better. Having put it in the search facility I've learned all I need to know. A sad case.


09 Feb 07 - 10:55 AM (#1962280)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh

"autolycus"; The short answer is, "it depends..."

Burns wrote new words to existing airs; sometimes these airs already had words, sometimes they were simply instrumental, sometimes it was half-way between the two: that is, the earlier words might have been entirely, or partly, forgotten, "buried midst the wreck of things which were". David Herd had collected many fragments, as well as the completer songs and ballads which he published in 1769 and 1776; Burns made use of some of these fragments in his own compositions in a traditional idiom. Sometimes, as RB put it himself, "little other than the title is ancient" (i.e., he took a hint from the title, and the spirit of the melody, in crafting his own version).

I'm not entirely sure what you meant by "provided" the tunes; on only one occasion did RB compose a melody himself (he mentions it in his Letters, somewhere!), but on others - as you may read in my conrtribution of February 7th, above - he evidently DID "provide" a set of the melody to publishers. Most frequently, however, he would simply indicate in which published collection an instrumental set of the melody could be found. Not that they always heeded him; GT, Gods help us, even published "Wert Thou in the Cauld Blast" to "My Love she's but a Lassie yet".


10 Feb 07 - 05:38 AM (#1963036)
Subject: RE: Burns as Music
From: autolycus

Thanks. Ir's not clear on my LPs whether wrote words,tunes or both.

   Your answer is all I could have asked for,and more,so thanks again.





       Ivor