array(0) { } Three Burns Portraits – Prima Vista Musikk

Three Burns Portraits

Robert Burns (1759-1796) was one of the most colourful literary figures of the 18th Century. The son of a tenant farmer, he was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, and earned a living variously as a farmer, flax dresser and exercise man, gradually establishing himself as a poet, lyricist and collector of folksongs. A charismatic character, by the time of his death he had become Scotland's best known and best-loved poet. This work depicts three characters from his personal life who also figure in his poetry. Although Burns intended much of his verse to be sung, and even wrote tunes himself for many of his lyrics, all the melodies in this work are original.

I. John Anderson

John Anderson (1759-1832) was an Ayrshire carpenter and close friend to Robert Burns, who immortalised Anderson in his affectionate poem John Anderson Ma Jo, which imagines both men in old age (although Burns was only 37 when he died). Anderson is reputed to have made Robert Burns' coffin and survived the wrecking of the paddle steamer Cornet at Craignish Point near Oban during a storm in 1820, an event incorporated into this movement. This is a picture of a tough, resilient Scot who meets the storms of Life head-on.

II. Mary Campbell

Robert Burns had numerous love affairs, sometimes with more than one woman at a time. Mary Campbell, a sailor's daughter from the highland district of Dunoon, had entered service with a family in Ayrshire when she met Burns. Although involved with another woman at the time, Burns was smitten with Campbell and there is evidence to suggest that he planned to emigrate to Jamaica with Mary. However, nothing came of this wild scheme and Mary, fearing disgrace and scandal left the area but not before Burns had enshrined her in at least two poems, Highland Mary and To Mary Campbell. Significantly, the first line of the latter runs, "Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary, and leave auld Scotia's Shore?" (His ardent pleading can be heard in the middle section of the movement). Mary's music paints a portrait of a graceful young lady who had the presence of mind not to be entirely won over by the charms of Robert Burns.

III. Douglas Graham

Burns was a heavy drinker, and this is most likely a contribution to his early death. He was matched in this capacity by his friend, Douglas ‘Tam' Graham, a farmer who sought solace in the bottle from an unhappy marriage. Burns used his drinking partner as a model for the comic poem, Tam O'Shanter, which tells of a drunken Ayrshire farmer who encounters a Witches' Sabbath and escapes with his life, but at the cost of his horse tail. The story was said to be made up by Graham himself to placate his fearsome, but very superstitious, wife after he arrived home one night, worse the wear for drink and with his old mare's tail cropped by some village prankster. This present piece depicts Tam enjoying a riotous night at a local hostilely in the company of his friends, John Anderson and ‘Rabbie' Burns.

 

Rodney Newton - 2013

Product information

Composer
Rodney Newton
Instrumentation
Trombone Solo & Brass Band
Duration
10'30"
Difficulty Level
Difficult
Version
Download Full Set, Download Score Only, Printed Full Set, Printed Score Only

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