Sally Garden's Residency theme
discovering music in scotland
in Scotland's city of discovery
At her March 2004 Residency Inaugural Recital, Mondschein
auf Loch Lomond - music inspired by the northern muse!
(Caird Hall Stage, Dundee), Sally Garden introduced her chosen
Residency theme of 'discovery'...
Andrew John Wighton (1804-1866), merchant and music
collector caused his valuable collection of early
printed and manuscript music to be gifted to Dundee
Free Library in 1869, he could have made no greater
statement about the historical strength and confidence
of Scottish musical life. Containing over 1000 items
of vocal and instrumental music from the late C17
to early C19, and covering a wide range of genres,
the Wighton collection bears particular testimony
to the vibrant cosmopolitanism of Enlightenment Scotland.
But Wighton and his antiquarian
circle were less interested in the vitality of Scotland's
music than in the narrow question of its 'Scottishness'.
Searching essentially for a Scottish 'volksgeist'
or particular national character, they sought a separatist
definition of Scottish music based on the concepts
of authenticity and linguistic purity (is an air English
or Scottish or Irish, what does its musical syntax
and associated text tell us about its likely origins).
Aware of the flux of Scotland's musical life but determined
to pin down its historical sources, theirs was a combative
scholarship of claim and counter-claim - a gentlemanly
programme of work tied to a preoccupation with political
identity in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars.
But what matters from our perspective
in the C21 is not Scottish music as an abstract idea,
but Scotland's musical life as a living, evolving
reality. From pre-Reformation times to the present,
Scotland has enjoyed an often surprising degree of
cultural exchange with her neighbours. Hence the theme
I have chosen for the Residency 'discovering music
in Scotland' is one of celebration of a confident
An invitation to 'discover'...
At her Wighton Residency Inaugural
Recital, Sally Garden invited us to begin this 'discovery'
with a journey into the lost landscape of Scottish art song.
In a programme of music inspired by the northern muse - the
landscape of Scotland and her northern neighbours - the twilight
world of German Romanticism was our guiding star. Taking the
Wighton Collection as starting point, she invited us to wander
into the realm of 'Naturbeseelung' where landscape and human
spirit meld together in metaphysical union - where nature
herself becomes sentient! It was a journey which began with
Aberdeen composer John Ross, with Carl Maria von Weber, the
father of German Romanticism, and with the silver shadows
of 'Mondschein auf Loch Lomond' - 'moonlight on Loch Lomond'.