Program 97
"Classically Scottish"

MUSIC: clip from Mendelssohn Symphony No. 3 (“The Scottish”), performed by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Claudio Abbado [DGG 415 356-2, CD 3, track 2]  [under the following]  

Welcome to Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

The music in the background will give you a good hint as to what the theme for our next hour will be: The theme is “Classically Scottish,” and our opening music is from the second movement of Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3, his so-called “Scottish Symphony.”

MUSIC: fades out

Mendelssohn is one of several non-Scottish composers who were inspired by Scotland or Scottish folk music to write beautiful symphonic music. We have time for only four of those composers in the next hour. These include Malcolm Arnold, an Englishman who wrote Four Scottish Dances; Ronald Binge, another Englishman. He wrote a Scottish Rhapsody. And Max Bruch, a German, who wrote a Scottish Fantasy. But we’ll start with an American composer, Leroy Anderson, who wrote a Scottish Suite, from which we’ll hear “The Blue Bells of Scotland” as conducted by the composer.


MUSIC: Anderson: Blue Bells of Scotland from The Scottish Suite performed by Leroy Anderson and his Orchestra [MCA Classics MCAD2-9815-A, track 21]  [2:15]

Leroy Anderson’s Scottish Suite. The composer conducted his own orchestra on a digitally remastered MCA Classics compact disc.

We are listening to “Classically Scottish” music on this hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

I mentioned earlier that there were several composers who were inspired by Scotland and Scottish folk music to write pieces about Scotland, and we are hearing from four of them in this hour.

MUSIC: clip from Mendelssohn Symphony No. 3 (“The Scottish”), performed by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Claudio Abbado [DGG 415 356-2, CD 3, track 2]  [under the following]  

We started the program with the theme from Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony, but we won’t have the time to play any more of that work.

MUSIC: fades out

MUSIC: clip from Dvorak: Scottish Dances, Op. 41 played by Stefan Veselka, piano [Naxos 8.557478, track 2]


Antonin Dvorak also wrote a piece based on Scottish themes: his Scottish Dances, Op. 41, for piano, which you hear in the background now. Sorry, but we won’t have time for that either.

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MUSIC: clip from Ted Heath’s Night Train to Scotland [Naxos Nostalgia 8.120717, track 3] [under the following]

The English big band leader Ted Heath recorded Night Train to Scotland, which you hear in the background now. That’s another classic we won’t have time for. Sorry.

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MUSIC: clip from Lamond: “From the Scottish Highlands” Concert Overture with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Martyn Brabbins [Hyperion CDA67387, track 6] [under the following]

Believe it or not, there is even a Scottish composer who wrote music inspired by Scotland, but you probably never heard of him. His name is Frederic Lamond, and he lived from 1868 until 1948. He wrote a concert overture called From the Scottish Highlands, which you are hearing in the background now. Wish I had time to play it all.

But let’s get to the three other pieces we do have time for in this hour, beginning with Four Scottish Dances by Malcolm Arnold.

Malcolm Arnold was born in England in 1921. He composed nine symphonies, just like what’s-his-name, three sinfoniettas, and a serenade for orchestra. He has written concertos for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, guitar, organ, harmonica, and piano solo and piano duet; a serenade for guitar and strings; plus a quantity of pieces for wind instruments; chamber music for both winds and strings; choral music and piano pieces.

MUSIC: clip from the soundtrack from the movie Bridge Over the River Kwai [Columbia Records]  [under the following]

He has also been exceptionally active as a composer for films. His film scores include Hobson’s Choice, 1984, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness and the immensely popular Bridge on the River Kwai. His best known symphonic works are his English Dances, Tam O’Shanter, Homage to the Queen, and the work we are about to hear, his Four Scottish Dances.

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These dances were composed in 1957 and are dedicated to the BBC Light Music Festival. They are all based on original melodies except for one. That is from a tune by the poet Robert Burns.  In this recording the London Philharmonic Orchestra is conducted by the composer, Sir Malcolm Arnold.

MUSIC: Arnold: Four Scottish Dances, the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Malcolm Arnold [Everest/Vanguard Classics EVC 9006, tracks 14-17]  [9:26]

Malcolm Arnold’s Four Scottish Dances performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by the composer.

Next in this hour devoted to “Classically Scottish” music we turn to the British composer, Ronald Binge, and his Scottish Dances.  Binge, who lived from 1910 until 1979, was one of the most highly respected and successful English composers of his generation. He particularly excelled at writing light music, and spent some time orchestrating music for the Mantovani Orchestra, which was to make Mantovani very successful. Binge also wrote several film scores, including The Runaway Bus, Dance Little Lady, and Our Gal Friday. And he wrote the music for more than 50 films for American television.

Binge used several Scottish tunes in his Scottish Rhapsody, plus several original melodies composed in the same style. The piece was originally written for Mantovani, who performed it with great success when his orchestra toured Europe and the U.S. It is played now by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ernest Tomlinson from a Marco Polo compact disc.

MUSIC: Binge: Scottish Rhapsody performed by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ernest Tomlinson [Marco Polo 8.223515, track 2]  [7:41]

The Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ernest Tomlinson  performed the Scottish Rhapsody by Ronald Binge.

You are listening to “Classically Scottish” on Compact Discoveries.  I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

[optional break not included in the 58:00 total timing of the program]

We turn now to our major work for this hour, the Scottish Fantasy of Max Bruch.  Bruch, of course, was no more Scottish than Ronald Binge or Malcolm Arnold.  He was born in Cologne in 1838. He died in 1920. Bruch wrote his Scottish Fantasy in 1880 for the Spanish violinist Pablo Sarasate. Sarasate gave the first performance later that same year. For his melodies Bruch drew on an anthology of 600 Scottish folk-songs.

We’ll listen to a Naxos recording with violinist Maxim Fedotov and the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Dmitry Yablonsky.

MUSIC: Bruch: Scottish Fantasy performed by the Russian Philharmonic  Orchestra conducted by Dmitry Yablonsky, with violinist Maxim Fedotov [Naxos 8.557395, tracks 1-5] [32:45]

Scottish Fantasy  by Max Bruch performed by the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Dmitry Yablonsky. The violin soloist was Maxim Fedotov.

You have been listening to “Classically Scottish” music for the last hour on Compact Discoveries.

This is Fred Flaxman hoping that you have enjoyed our selections and that you’ll let me hear from you. You can reach me in care of the Compact Discoveries website at www.compactdiscoveries.com.

Compact Discoveries is a registered trademark and production of Compact Discoveries, Inc. Production of this program is made possible in part by the members of WXEL-FM, West Palm Beach, Florida.

MUSIC: fades out at 58:00

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