Related Reviews
The Consort
It is a long time since I encountered such a delectable new sound from early music.
more >>
a particularly fascinating figure, the Scottish composer and music publisher James Oswald...
more >>
HiFi News + Record Review
Delightful in its blend of Scottish snap and Italianate elegance, and strongly recommended.
more >>
Early Music Today
...excellently sung by Catherine Bott ans Iain Paton, and discreetly accompanied by David McGuinness' harpsichord and other instruments.
more >>
The Recorder Magazine
'Authoritative and vital interpretations.'
more >>
Sound & Music
una satira elegante e arie tradizionali con una grazia consumata e una raffinatezza unica
more >>
The Northern Echo.
4 Stars
A delightful entertainment and insight ninto some charming and graceful miniatures of the 18th century.
more >>
Yorkshire Evening Press
4 Stars
graceful ornamentation and verbal clarity, laced with toungue-in-cheek delight
more >>
The Observer - Review
As the superb Colin's kisses reveals Oswald's gift was lyrical rather than dynamic, and although his works were on a small scale they were beautifully formed.
more >>
The List
4 Stars
'Concerto Caledonia brings out the beauty in all of Oswald's melodies.'
more >>
What's On In London
'A fascinating insight.'
more >>

Concerto Caledonia - Oswald:Colin's Kisses - Gramophone

01 October 1999

The Scottish musical rococo is a rare commodity and yet James oswald, a local musician's son from the fishing village of Crail on the East coast just below St Andrew's, reveals just how fashionable courtly elegance can be when tenderly infused by the unmistakable reeling of Scottish vernacular melody. Oswald was active in the mid-eighteenth century and found his greatest success in London where he worked as a chamber composer for George III and ran a music shop next to St Martin-in-the-Fields. Indeed, it is not hard to see how he came to be a popular figure, with his easy, measured lyricism articulated by a natural, if not spectacular melodic gift.

Catherine Bott lends the vocal numbers a poignancy, but resists the temptation to make more of the music than is there; in Colin's Kisses, a set of drawing-room cameos presented as three tableaux between selected instrumental pieces, Bott is charm personified, and she controls textual innuendo with the selected restraint and propriety of a Miss Brodie. That said, there is something of a Brigadoon-like swooning quality in 'The Stolen Kiss' which is affectingly realized. Her partner, Iain Paton's soft-grained tenor suits the gentle strophic style and he characterizes the text well.

Oswald was an insatiable collector of Scottish traditional music and the examples presented by the  splendid Concerto Caledonia deserve to be better known, as does the accomplished Italianate Serenata No. 4. An attractive yearning tenderness is constantly projected and the voicing, as in the expressive 'Ettrick Banks', brings alive the intrinsic grace of these timeless melodies. The Airs for the Four Seasons is especially notable. I hummed the Pastorale from 'The Thistle' for a week. This pleasurable experience followed a day of listening to Robert Carver, that fine north-of-the-border polyphonist, and a revisiting of Hyperion's enterprising disc (also from Concerto Caledonia with Catherine Bott, 8/98) of cantatas by John Clerk of Penicuik. As he would say 'O renovata Scotia'!

Bookmark and Share

Related Links

Concerto CaledoniaConcerto Caledonia
Colin's KissesColin's Kisses