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 "Through the Wood Laddie".[2] This tune, with its prominent Scots snap, 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).

Although Bruch only visited Scotland a year after the premiere, he had access to a collection of Scottish music at Munich library in 1868. In paying homage to Scottish tradition, the work 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 that is still widely heard today, along with the first violin concerto and Kol Nidrei for cello and orchestra.


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. It was published by Simrock as Fantasie: für die Violine mit Orchester und Harfe unter freier Benutzung schottischer Volksmelodien, Op. 46.[3]


The premiere was in Liverpool on 22 February 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.[4][5] When Bruch conducted the work with Sarasate as the soloist at a Philharmonic Society concert in St. James’s Hall on 15 March 1883; it was titled Concerto for Violin (Scotch).[3] 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).[3]

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), James Ehnes (2003), Rachel Barton Pine (2004), Aaron Rosand (2007), Nicola Benedetti (2014), and Joshua Bell (2018).


The opus consists of the following movements:[6]

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


The work is scored for the following instruments:[6]


  1. ^ Fitfield 2005, p. 164
  2. ^ Pine 2005
  3. ^ a b c Fitfield 2006, p. 168
  4. ^ Fitfield 2005, pp. 168–169
  5. ^ Steinberg 2000, p. 152
  6. ^ a b Bruch 1880.
  • Bruch, Max (1880). Fantasie für die Violine mit Orchester und Harfe, unter freier Benutzung schottischer Volksmelodieen, Op. 46. Berlin: N. Simrock, GmbH.
  • Fitfield, Christopher (2005). Max Bruch: His Life and Works. Boydell Press. ISBN 1-84383-136-8.
  • Pine, Rachel Barton (2005). Scottish Fantasies for Violin and Orchestra (CD). Cedille Records. CDR 90000 083. Archived from the original on 2012-02-19. Retrieved 2010-01-16.
  • Steinberg, Michael (2000). The Concerto: A Listener's Guide. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-513931-3.

External links[edit]