Hyperion Records

Burns, Robert (1759-1796)  

Robert Burns

born: 25 January 1759
died: 21 July 1796
country: United Kingdom

Robert Burns was born in Alloway, Ayrshire, on 25 January 1759. His father was a poor tenant farmer – an occupation which Burns also followed but with scant success. He had little formal education but was a voracious reader with an abiding love for Scotland, its tradition of oral poetry, and its music. His greatest work springs from the reactions of a generous and compassionate nature to what he saw around him, and the things he knew about at first hand. Scottish rural life with its love-songs, work-songs and drinking-songs provided him with an inexhaustible field for the expression of his humanity. He had a command of both English and the Scots vernacular, and the richness (and economy) of his writing betokens a mastery of the two languages. He might have emigrated to Jamaica were it not for the success of his first published volume Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish dialect (1786). This enabled him to escape from the consequences of several scandalous affairs in Ayrshire and to build a new life in Edinburgh. In fact he veered between being a literary lion and tenant farmer and was exhausted by the demands of this dual existence. He later married Jean Armour who had previously given birth to his children out of wedlock. He moved to Dumfries and became an exciseman, trained for the post by one James Findlay. Burns died in July 1796 as a result of rheumatic heart disease. He remains the only poet in the world whose birthday occasions national celebration and festivity, not only in Scotland itself but in every enclave of the Scottish diaspora.

Burns is justifiably revered as perhaps the most famous of Scotsmen, but his contribution to music is perhaps less acknowledged. From 1786 he gathered material for James Johnson’s The Scots Musical Museum and later for George Thomson who was in touch with Beethoven and Haydn among many other continental composers. Unlike Beethoven, Burns worked for Thomson without payment, considering such activities to be his duty as a Scotsman. This involved the collection of folksong from oral sources and from all over the country; at the time he probably had a greater knowledge of original Scots melody than any man alive. He composed lyrics to existing tunes as well as changing, adapting and completing fragments of existing verse. He was also responsible for composing and completing melodies, although the extent of this work will probably never be known. Instead of ruining the original sources (as a man less uncannily in tune with the spirit of Scots poetry and music might have done) he preserved and purified material which would otherwise have become corrupt or forgotten. He was almost single-handedly responsible for the preservation of Scots folk culture in lyrics of abiding beauty and memorability.

Byron said ‘The rank of Burns is the very first of his art’. Goethe, alerted to Burns’s work by Thomas Carlyle in 1828, saluted Burns as the ‘first of lyricists’. Like Goethe, Burns regarded his own life and character, his natural impulses, as the very raw material of art. His work shows a seriousness and gravity which counterbalances his tearaway side, as well as an astonishingly modern viewpoint which scorns eighteenth-century niceties of class differentiation and religious propriety. When the church reprimanded him for fornication he was able to reply: ‘The Kirk an’ the State may gang to Hell, but I’ll gang to my Anna’. Goethe’s approbation was quickly followed by translations of Burns’s poetry by various German poets, and Schumann was clearly entranced with the lyrics. It is clear that even in translation Burns’s poems seemed to the composer like the natural and unstilted reactions of a modern man, a real Mensch. (Goethe had felt the same when first encountering Shakespeare.)

from notes by Graham Johnson ©

Albums
'All in the April Evening' (CDH55243)
All in the April Evening
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55243  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'All in the April Evening' (CDH88008)
All in the April Evening
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDH88008  Helios (Hyperion's budget label) — Archive Service  
'Bird Songs at Eventide' (CDH55156)
Bird Songs at Eventide
MP3 £4.00FLAC £4.00ALAC £4.00Buy by post £4.40 CDH55156  Helios (Hyperion's budget label) Composers of World War I  
'Brahms & Schumann: Voices of the Night' (CDA66053)
Brahms & Schumann: Voices of the Night
'Britten: Complete Folk Song Arrangements' (CDA66941/2)
Britten: Complete Folk Song Arrangements
'Grainger & Grieg: At twilight' (CDH55236)
Grainger & Grieg: At twilight
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDH55236  Helios (Hyperion's budget label) — Archive Service  
'Maw: One foot in Eden still, I stand & other choral works' (CDA67615)
Maw: One foot in Eden still, I stand & other choral works
'Mendelssohn: Songs and Duets, Vol. 1' (CDA66906)
Mendelssohn: Songs and Duets, Vol. 1
MP3 £5.25FLAC £5.25ALAC £5.25Buy by post £5.25 CDA66906  Please, someone, buy me …  
'Mendelssohn: Songs and Duets, Vol. 5' (CDA67753)
Mendelssohn: Songs and Duets, Vol. 5
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99Buy by post £10.50 CDA67753  2CDs for the price of 1  
'O tuneful voice' (CDA66497)
O tuneful voice
'Pärt: Triodion & other choral works' (CDA30013)
Pärt: Triodion & other choral works
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99Buy by post £8.50 CDA30013  Hyperion 30th Anniversary series  
'Pärt: Triodion & other choral works' (CDA67375)
Pärt: Triodion & other choral works
'Ravel: Songs' (CDA67728)
Ravel: Songs
'Schumann & Brahms: Voices of the Night' (CDA66053)
Schumann & Brahms: Voices of the Night
'Schumann: Songs' (CDH55275)
Schumann: Songs
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDH55275  Helios (Hyperion's budget label) — Archive Service  
'Schumann: The Complete Songs' (CDS44441/50)
Schumann: The Complete Songs
MP3 £35.00FLAC £35.00ALAC £35.00Buy by post £38.50 CDS44441/50  10CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
'Schumann: The Complete Songs, Vol. 7 – Dorothea Röschmann & Ian Bostridge' (CDJ33107)
Schumann: The Complete Songs, Vol. 7 – Dorothea Röschmann & Ian Bostridge
'Schumann: The Complete Songs, Vol. 8 – Christopher Maltman, Jonathan Lemalu & Mark Padmore' (CDJ33108)
Schumann: The Complete Songs, Vol. 8 – Christopher Maltman, Jonathan Lemalu & Mark Padmore
MP3 £6.00FLAC £6.00ALAC £6.00Buy by post £10.50 CDJ33108  Download currently discounted
'Songs of Scotland' (CDH55336)
Songs of Scotland
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55336  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'The Romantic Music' (CDA66740)
The Romantic Music
'Vaughan Williams: Over hill, over dale' (CDA66777)
Vaughan Williams: Over hill, over dale
'Women's lives and loves' (CDA67563)
Women's lives and loves
'Hyperion monthly sampler – July 2014' (HYP201407)
Hyperion monthly sampler – July 2014
MP3 £0.00FLAC £0.00ALAC £0.00 FREE DOWNLOAD HYP201407  Download-only monthly sampler  
On other labels
'MacLean: Till tomorrow' (CKD465)
MacLean: Till tomorrow
MP3 £8.00FLAC £9.00ALAC £9.00 CKD465  Download only  
Complete works available for download
ANONYMOUS - TRADITIONAL
A rosebud by my early walk Marie McLaughlin (soprano), Malcolm Martineau (piano)
Bonnie wee thing Marie McLaughlin (soprano), Malcolm Martineau (piano)
Ca' the yowes Marie McLaughlin (soprano), Malcolm Martineau (piano)
Ca' the yowes Lorna Anderson (soprano), Malcolm Martineau (piano)
Ca' the yowes Dougie MacLean, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, John Logan (conductor)
Ca' the yowes Ian Bostridge (tenor), Holst Singers, Stephen Layton (conductor)
Ca' the yowes Mark Dobell (tenor), Laudibus, Michael Brewer (conductor)
Comin' thro' the rye Marie McLaughlin (soprano), Malcolm Martineau (piano)
Green grow the rashes Dougie MacLean, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, John Logan (conductor)
Heiland Harry Dougie MacLean, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, John Logan (conductor)
O, whistle and I'll come to you, my lad Marie McLaughlin (soprano), Malcolm Martineau (piano)
Scots wha hae Marie McLaughlin (soprano), Malcolm Martineau (piano)
The Banks o' Doon The Philharmonic Chamber Choir, David Temple (conductor)
The Banks o' Doon Laudibus, Michael Brewer (conductor)
The gallant weaver Marie McLaughlin (soprano), Malcolm Martineau (piano)
The white cockade Marie McLaughlin (soprano), Malcolm Martineau (piano)
The winter it is past Marie McLaughlin (soprano), Malcolm Martineau (piano)
Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon Marie McLaughlin (soprano), Malcolm Martineau (piano)
WILLIAM KNYVETT  (1779-1856)
Jessie Invocation, Timothy Roberts (conductor)
LIZA LEHMANN  (1862-1918)
Bonnie wee thing Robert White (tenor), Stephen Hough (piano)
NICHOLAS MAW  (1935-2009)
Five Epigrams Schola Cantorum of Oxford, Mark Shepherd (conductor)
FELIX MENDELSSOHN  (1809-1847)
Six Duets, Op 63 Sophie Daneman (soprano), Nathan Berg (baritone), Eugene Asti (piano)
Volkslied Stephan Loges (baritone), Eugene Asti (piano)
ARVO PÄRT  (b1935)
My heart's in the highlands David James (countertenor), Christopher Bowers-Broadbent (organ)
GEORGE FREDERICK PINTO  (1785-1806)
From thee, Eliza, I must go Rufus Müller (tenor), Timothy Roberts (fortepiano)
CLARA SCHUMANN  (1819-1896)
Am Strande Susan Gritton (soprano), Eugene Asti (piano)
ROBERT SCHUMANN  (1810-1856)
Myrthen, Op 25 Dorothea Röschmann (soprano), Ian Bostridge (tenor), Graham Johnson (piano)
Vier Duette, Op 34 Dorothea Röschmann (soprano), Ian Bostridge (tenor), Graham Johnson (piano)
Alphabetical listing of all musical works
A rosebud by my early walk (Anon/McPhee)
Am Strande (Schumann)
Andrew Turner  No 5 of Five Epigrams (Maw)
As father Adam first was fool'd  First line to On a henpecked country squire, No 3 of Five Epigrams (Maw)
Below thir stanes lie Jamie's banes  First line to On a noisy polemic, No 1 of Five Epigrams (Maw)
Bonnie wee thing (Anon/Davie)
Bonnie wee thing (Lehmann)
British Folk-Music Settings (Grainger)
Ca' the yowes (Anon/Britten)
Ca' the yowes (Anon/Liddell)
Ca' the yowes (Anon/MacLean/Bateman)
Ca' the yowes (Anon/Vaughan Williams)
Chanson écossaise  No 5 of Chants populaires (Ravel)
Chants populaires (Ravel)
Comin' thro' the rye (Anon/Liddell)
Dem roten Röslein gleicht mein Lieb  No 2 of Lieder und Gesänge I, Op 27 (Schumann)
Die Hochländer-Witwe  No 10 of Myrthen, Op 25 (Schumann)
Five Epigrams (Maw)
From thee, Eliza, I must go (Pinto)
Gin a body, meet a body  First line to Comin' thro' the rye (Anon/Liddell)
Green grow the rashes (Anon/MacLean/Logan)
Hauptmanns Weib  No 19 of Myrthen, Op 25 (Schumann)
Heiland Harry (Anon/MacLean/Bateman)
Here lies, now a prey to insulting neglect  First line to On a lady famed for her caprice, No 4 of Five Epigrams (Maw)
Hoch zu Pferd!  First line to Hauptmanns Weib, No 19 of Myrthen, Op 25 (Schumann)
Hochländers Abschied  No 13 of Myrthen, Op 25 (Schumann)
Hochländisches Wiegenlied  No 14 of Myrthen, Op 25 (Schumann)
Ich bin gekommen ins Niederland  First line to Die Hochländer-Witwe, No 10 of Myrthen, Op 25 (Schumann)
Ich hab' mein Weib allein  First line to Niemand, No 22 of Myrthen, Op 25 (Schumann)
Ich schau' über Forth hinüber nach Nord  First line to Im Westen, No 23 of Myrthen, Op 25 (Schumann)
Im Westen  No 23 of Myrthen, Op 25 (Schumann)
In seventeen hunder' and forty nine  First line to Andrew Turner, No 5 of Five Epigrams (Maw)
Jemand  No 4 of Myrthen, Op 25 (Schumann)
Jessie (Knyvett)
John Anderson  No 4 of Romanzen und Balladen III, Op 145 (Schumann)
Liebhabers Ständchen  No 2 of Vier Duette, Op 34 (Schumann)
Lieder und Gesänge I, Op 27 (Schumann)
Mein Herz ist betrübt, ich sag' es nicht  First line to Jemand, No 4 of Myrthen, Op 25 (Schumann)
Mein Herz ist im Hochland, mein Herz ist nicht hier  First line to Hochländers Abschied, No 13 of Myrthen, Op 25 (Schumann)
My heart's in the highlands (Pärt)
My love was born in Aberdeen  First line to The white cockade (Anon/McVicar)
Myrthen, Op 25 (Schumann)
Niemand  No 22 of Myrthen, Op 25 (Schumann)
Now Robin likes in his last lair  First line to On the death of Robert Ruisseaux, No 2 of Five Epigrams (Maw)
O säh' ich auf der Haide dort  First line to Volkslied, No 5 of Six Duets, Op 63 (Mendelssohn)
O säh’ ich auf der Haide dort  First line to Volkslied (Mendelssohn)
O, whistle and I'll come to you, my lad (Anon/Stephen)
On a henpecked country squire  No 3 of Five Epigrams (Maw)
On a lady famed for her caprice  No 4 of Five Epigrams (Maw)
On a noisy polemic  No 1 of Five Epigrams (Maw)
On the death of Robert Ruisseaux  No 2 of Five Epigrams (Maw)
Romanzen und Balladen III, Op 145 (Schumann)
Schlafe, süsser, kleiner Donald  First line to Hochländisches Wiegenlied, No 14 of Myrthen, Op 25 (Schumann)
Scots wha hae (Anon/Liddell)
Six Duets, Op 63 (Mendelssohn)
The Banks o' Doon (Anon/Roberton)
The gallant weaver (Anon)
The white cockade (Anon/McVicar)
The winter it is past (Anon)
Traurig schau ich von der Klippe  First line to Am Strande (Schumann)
True-hearted was he, the sad swain o' the Yarrow  First line to Jessie (Knyvett)
Unterm Fenster  No 3 of Vier Duette, Op 34 (Schumann)
Vier Duette, Op 34 (Schumann)
Volkslied  No 5 of Six Duets, Op 63 (Mendelssohn)
Volkslied (Mendelssohn)
Wachst du noch, Liebchen? Gruss und Kuss!  First line to Liebhabers Ständchen, No 2 of Vier Duette, Op 34 (Schumann)
Weit, weit  No 20 of Myrthen, Op 25 (Schumann)
Wer ist vor meiner Kammertür?  First line to Unterm Fenster, No 3 of Vier Duette, Op 34 (Schumann)
Where Cart rins rowin' tae the sea  First line to The gallant weaver (Anon)
Wie kann ich froh und munter sein  First line to Weit, weit, No 20 of Myrthen, Op 25 (Schumann)
Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon  First line to Chanson écossaise, No 5 of Chants populaires (Ravel)
Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon  No 30 of British Folk-Music Settings (Grainger)
Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon  First line to The Banks o' Doon (Anon/Roberton)
Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon (Anon/Liddell)
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