In 2009, throughout the world Scots and people who love the poetry and songs of Robert Burns will be celebrating the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the great poet’s birth. Rabbie Burns was born in Alloway, Ayrshire, Scotland in 25 January 1759 and died young in July 1796 aged 37 years.
During his short life he became Scotland’s national poet and after his death, he became a cultural icon among the Scottish Diaspora around the world. His songs transverse world nationalities and cultures as can be heard in this brilliant album of orchestral arrangements made by one of the foremost orchestrators in the world – Auralis.
Burns was a pioneer of the Romantic Movement and inspired generations of folk musicians and poets. He wrote original compositions and also collected folk songs, which he revised and adapted adding his own verses.
His poems and songs such as Scots Wha Hae about William Wallace (Braveheart), and the beautiful love song, A Red, Red Rose, contrast with the egalitarian humanity of A Man’s A Man For A’ That, and the famous song of hope, reconciliation and humane kindness Auld Lang Syne to celebrate (Hogmanay) – New Year, are among his many songs that are performed around the world.
Auralis has paid his own personal tribute to the poet by arranging fourteen songs for the Garritan Virtual Orchestra. Some of these old songs are only eight to sixteen bars in length and repeat themselves over and over again. In order to make them sound more interesting, Auralis has created innovative musical figures such as novel rhythmic accompaniments, counter melodies and introductions with transitions that modulate into, sometimes three keys, creating evocative brilliant orchestrations that are beautiful and stunning. The eight bar song: Ca’ the Yowes to the Knowes is an example of this wonderful orchestration where Auralis changes the chords and uses an arrangement that gives us a romantic mysterious impressionism of Scotland’s distant past. This is great arranging by a master and a fitting tribute to Robert Burns, Scotland’s Other Braveheart.
(Notes by music arranger Robert Sangster).