Haydn Trio Eisenstadt
Glasgow University Concert Hall, Fri 22 Jan; St Cecilia’s Hall, Edinburgh, Fri 23 Jan
Born exactly 200 years apart, but living in Ayrshire communities just a stone’s throw away from each other, it is especially apt that celebrations for Scotland’s most famous poet should include a new setting of his work from Scotland’s most famous living composer. In a commission from the new Centre for Robert Burns Studies at Glasgow University, James MacMillan, who is 50 this year, has set a less familiar Burns poem, the beautiful lament of Mary, Queen of Scots.
Two hundred or so years ago, however, it was the Austrian composer Haydn that Burns collaborated with. The concert that concludes the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s major conference on Robert Burns in Global Culture, also celebrates the completion of an extensive CD project which brings together all 429 Burns folksongs set by Haydn for his Scottish publisher, George Thomson. Both Haydn and MacMillan use the same musical forces – soprano, tenor and piano trio. Scottish singers Lorna Anderson and Jamie MacDougall join with the Haydn Trio Eisenstadt for a performance of just some of them.
‘Trio Eisdenstadt are fantastic young Austrian performers,’ says Kirsteen McCue of Glasgow University, which has just hosted its own conference celebrating all aspects of Burns’ life and works, ‘and the MacMillan piece is actually a little dramatic scena, where Mary is looking to the future and what her son might inherit.’
As well as appearing at Glasgow Universty, the collaboration will be aired in St Cecilia’s Hall, the venue where it was all happening musically in 18th century Scotland. The concert will be, says Kirsteen McCue, ‘an extremely exciting close to an event which allows us to see Burns from different perspectives, as well as telling us something about our own culture.’