Scottish Fantasy

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The Scottish Fantasy in E-flat major, Op. 46, is a composition for violin and orchestra by Max Bruch.[1] Completed in 1880, it was dedicated to the virtuoso violinist Pablo de Sarasate.

It is a four-movement fantasy on Scottish folk melodies. The first movement is built on a tune variously identified as "Auld Rob Morris" or "Through the Wood Laddie".[2] This tune also appears at the end of the second and fourth movements. The second movement is built around "The Dusty Miller", the third on "I'm A' Doun for Lack O' Johnnie", and the fourth movement includes a sprightly arrangement of "Hey Tuttie Tatie", the tune in the patriotic anthem "Scots Wha Hae" (with lyrics by Robert Burns).

In paying homage to Scottish tradition (although the composer never visited Scotland[citation needed]), Bruch's composition gives a prominent place to the harp in the instrumental accompaniment to the violin.

The Scottish Fantasy is one of several signature pieces by Bruch which are still widely heard today, along with the first violin concerto and the Kol Nidrei for cello and orchestra.

Composition[edit]

Bruch composed the work in Berlin during the winter of 1879–1880. Despite the dedication to Sarasate, Joseph Joachim was involved in the fingering and bowing of the solo part prior to the composition going to press at Simrock as Fantasie: für die Violine mit Orchester und Harfe unter freier Benutzung schottischer Volksmelodieen, Op. 46.

Premiere[edit]

The premiere was in Liverpool on February 22, 1881 with Bruch, who was the director of the Liverpool Philharmonic Society, conducting and Joachim as the soloist. Bruch was unhappy with Joachim’s performance, describing him as having "ruined’ the work. When Bruch conducted the work with Sarasate as the soloist at a Philharmonic Society concert in St. James’s Hall on March 15, 1883 it was titled Concerto for Violin (Scotch). At a concert that Bruch conducted in Breslau, also with Sarasate as the soloist, the work was titled Third Violin Concerto (with free use of Scottish melodies, Op. 46).

Notable recordings[edit]

Many famous violinists have recorded the work, including Jascha Heifetz (1947 and 1961), Michael Rabin (1957), David Oistrakh (1962), Kyung-wha Chung (1972), Arthur Grumiaux (1973), Salvatore Accardo (1977), Ruggiero Ricci (live, 1980s), Cho-Liang Lin (1986), Itzhak Perlman (1986), Anne Akiko Meyers (1992), Vanessa-Mae (1996), Akiko Suwanai (1997), Rachel Barton Pine (2004), and Nicola Benedetti (2014).

Movements[edit]

  1. Introduction; Grave, Adagio cantabile
  2. Scherzo; Allegro
  3. Andante sostenuto
  4. Finale; Allegro guerriero

Instrumentation[edit]

The work is scored for solo violin, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, bass drum, suspended cymbal (played with triangle beater), harp and strings

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fifield, Christopher. Max Bruch: His Life and Works. Boydell Press, 2005.
  2. ^ Pine, Rachel Barton. "Program Notes", Retrieved 2011-02-17.

External links[edit]