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Thursday, January 16, 2020

Josef Haydn, Tullochgorum, Scottish Songs, The Poker Club Band, Masako Art

Josef Haydn harmonized, arranged and otherwise re-situated over 400 traditional Scottish song-melodies in his lifetime. Though he never visited Scotland clearly he had a great sympathy for the music as can be attested on the recent volume Tullochgorum, Scottish Songs (BIS 2471). What sets this volume apart is that harpist Masako Art has taken Haydn's song arrangements (plus several by contemporaries John Elouis, Francois de Fossa, Niel Gow) and either created or adapted an existing harp part for the Poker Club Band ensemble of harp, guitar, violin and cello, with James Graham on vocals plus some related instrumental works.

The presence of the harp parts throughout and the consistent interplay of the ensemble, all gives the music a more Scottish folk flavor than otherwise yet follows the Classical harmonizations faithfully.

It is in the end a great musical idea, and a tribute to Haydn's brilliance as well as the sparkling beauty of traditional Scottish folk melody. It is a most worthy listen from start to finish. An outstanding experience. Bravo Masako Art and the Poker Club Band! Bravo Haydn!

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