Scenes from the Scottish Highlands for string orchestra
Granville Bantock – Scenes from the Scottish Highlands
(b. London, 7 August 1868 – d. London, 11 October 1946)
Strathspey – „The Braes o’ Tullymet” p.1
Dirge – „Dirge of the Isle of Mull” oder „The Isle of Mull” (An cronan Muillach) p.7
Quickstep – „Inverness Gathering” p.12
Gaelic Melody – „Lady Anne Bothwell’s Lament” oder „Baloo, baloo” p.18
Reel – „The De’il among the Tailors” oder „The De’il amang the Tailors” p.24
Preface (Laurie J. Sampsel, September 2017)
Several English composers were inspired by folk music from the British Isles in the years before World War I, and London audiences appreciated hearing their works. For example, in a single concert at the Palladium in January 1913, Sir Thomas Beecham conducted a program featuring Frederick Delius’s Brigg Fair based on the Lincolnshire tune; Ralph Vaughan Williams’s In the Fen Country based on a tune from East England; and Percy Grainger’s “Mock Morris.” The latter, original work “had to be played twice.” (“The Beecham Symphony Orchestra,” Times 13 Jan. 1913). Being a Scot himself, Granville Bantock (1868-1946) was smitten with the music of Scotland. His suite for string orchestra, Scenes from the Scottish Highlands, also dates from 1913.
Bantock’s most famous Scottish work is the Hebridean Symphony from 1915. Including Scenes from the Scottish Highlands, he composed about a dozen works inspired by the Highlands, the Hebrides, and Celtic culture. Other examples include the Seal-Woman, the Celtic Symphony, Three Scottish Scenes, Scottish Rhapsody, and Pibroch. No wonder critic Hugh Roberton described Bantock as “a thorough Celt” in his review of the Hebridean Symphony. (See the Musical Times, 1 March 1916, p. 147).
Several times Bantock turned to Marjory Kennedy-Fraser’s collection Songs of the Hebrides (1909-1921) for melodies, but not with Scenes. Each of the suite’s five movements features a folk song that Bantock may have heard during his travels in Scotland. These trips influenced more than his music. As described by Jennifer Oates, “Bantock’s Scottish obsession of the 1910s included a family holiday in the Highlands; adding tartan rugs and blankets to the décor of the Bantock home; the kilted Bantock sons learning the bagpipes and Highland dances; and a ‘tramp in the Highlands’ with his close friend and champion H. Orsmond Anderton.” (“Scotland, the ‘Celtic North,’ and the Sea,” in The Sea in the British Musical Imagination, Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2015, p. 46).
Bantock’s daughter, Myrrha, recalled an incident on one of the family’s trips with the “Colonel.” “The Colonel [H. Orsmond Anderton], who refused to wear trews under his kilt, caused a lot of excitement among the children at one picnic in the heather, when he sat on a rock above us, quite unconscious of the amount of leg and other anatomy that was visible from below!” (See Myrrha Bantock, Granville Bantock: A Personal Portrait, London: Dent, 1972, p. 70). It must have been a memorable trip for all. Writing in 1915, after acknowledging that he was a friend of the composer, Anderton praised the suite as being “full of colour and life” and “charged with the Gaelic spirit.” (Granville Bantock, London: Lane, 1915, p. 123).
The five movements of the suite are based on Scottish tunes popular to this day:
Strathspey – „The Braes o’ Tullymet”
Dirge – „Dirge of the Isle of Mull” oder „The Isle of Mull” (An cronan Muillach)
Quickstep – „Inverness Gathering”
Gaelic Melody – „Lady Anne Bothwell’s Lament” oder „Baloo, baloo”
Reel – „The De’il among the Tailors” oder „The De’il amang the Tailors”
Read full preface > HERE