Robbie Burns and the Music of Scotland

This com­ing Fri­day, Jan­u­ary 25th, we cel­e­brate the anniver­sary of the birth of Robert Burns, with two Burns Sup­pers at Cale­don Loch Avie: one for Euro­pean audi­ences begin­ning at 12 noon SLT and anoth­er at 7pm SLT. Music and audio for the pro­ceed­ings will be avail­able on the Radio Riel stream, and pro­vid­ed by Her Grace Gabrielle Riel in the first instance, and Edward, Lord Prim­broke in the lat­ter. More infor­ma­tion will be pub­lished here short­ly.

Between now and Fri­day we will be broad­cast­ing a con­tin­u­ing pro­gramme of Scot­tish music (and a lit­tle music about Scot­land) on music.radioriel.org, fea­tur­ing both tra­di­tion­al and con­tem­po­rary styles and artists — from the sound of the pipes to some of the coun­try’s lead­ing folk artists; from Gael­ic song to Celtic jigs.

We gen­er­al­ly start our day’s pro­grammes with a med­ley that includes a famil­iar tune from each coun­try that makes up the British Isles. This week, how­ev­er, we will be fea­tur­ing a spe­cial piece of music that instead con­sists of a selec­tion of Scot­tish melodies. It’s called Scot­landia, per­formed by Ger­al­do and his Orches­tra. It may be famil­iar to Scot­tish lis­ten­ers, as it was used by the com­mer­cial TV sta­tion Scot­tish Tele­vi­sion to begin their pro­grammes from 1957 until rel­a­tive­ly recent­ly.

The arrange­ment is by Ray Ter­ry – one of Geraldo’s staff arrangers and also, iron­i­cal­ly, a mem­ber of the mighty BBC Tele­vi­sion orches­tra­tion depart­ment of the 1960s. “Ger­ry” was extreme­ly well known and high­ly regard­ed when this piece was first used (he had a reg­u­lar show on the Light Pro­gramme), and no won­der, as he man­ages to art­ful­ly cram a vast num­ber of tunes into four or so min­utes, sev­er­al with a com­mon Jaco­bite theme.

The melodies include “The Camp­bells Are Com­ing”, “Will Ye No Come Back Again” (by Lady Car­oli­na Nairne, 1766–1845, com­pos­er of many post-Jaco­bite patri­ot­ic songs), “Loch Lomond”, “Comin’ Through the Rye”, “Char­lie Is My Dar­ling”, “Wi’ a Hun­dred Pipers” (that’s anoth­er two by Lady Nairne) and sev­er­al more.

It turns up in the pro­gramme from time to time as our sta­tion iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, and we hope you enjoy it — includ­ing the extra end­ing that was nev­er broad­cast. Our copy comes direct from the orig­i­nal 78rpm record (with a lit­tle dig­i­tal assis­tance on the cleanup).

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