The Favourite Minuets for orchestra (edited by Phillip Brookes)
Erskine, Thomas Alexander, Earl of Kelly
Thomas Alexander Erskine
Earl of Kelly (or Kellie)
The Favourite Minuets
(b. Kellie Castle, Fife, 1 September 1732 – d. Brussels, 6 October 1781)
Thomas Erskine, Viscount Fentoun and Lord Pittweem, became the 6th Earl of Kelly on the death of his father in 1756. The family had supported the Jacobite Rebellion in 1745, the 5th Earl being imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle but their fortunes were restored after Culloden, thus allowing the nineteen-year-old Thomas to go on the Grand Tour – visiting Europe as part of his education. Thomas concentrated on music, staying in Mannheim as a pupil of Johann Stamitz for composition and violin. He was sufficiently competent on his return to Edinburgh in 1756 to earn the nickname “Fiddler Tam”, giving recitals and gaining a reputation as a composer. In fact, Kelly became perhaps the major proponent in Britain of the “Mannheim School”, writing many three-movement symphonies, or “Overtures”, six of which were published as his “Opera Prima” in 1761.
But the aristocratic Kelly never needed to work and settled into a distinctly rakish lifestyle characterized by gentlemen’s drinking clubs, Masonic lodges, and ‘Society’ life. Indeed, he founded his own drinking society, the Capillaire Club. (An acquaintance once suggested that Kelly might use his own red nose to ripen the cucumbers in his greenhouse!) He never abandoned music, though. Deputy Governor of the Edinburgh Music Society, he regularly directed concerts and performed in St Cecila’s Hall, Edinburgh. He wrote much music, some of which became very popular, particularly an overture to the pastiche The Maid of the Mill (Periodical Overture No. 17) that made an impression at Covent Garden in 1765.
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The Phillip Brookes Collection
225 x 320 mm
225 x 320 mm