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Concerto Caledonia - Fiddler Tam - The Daily Telegraph


16 April 2005
The Daily Telegraph
Elizabeth Roche

The Earl of Kellie must be one of 18th-century Scotland's - and indeed Britain's - best-kept musical secrets. Listening to his Overture in C (effectively a three-movement symphony), it is almost impossible to believe that this strikingly energetic and eloquent music can really be the work of an almost-forgotten (and notoriously rakish) noble dilettante.

As a pupil of Johann Stamitz, Kellie was unusually well trained for an aristocratic amateur. Both the C major Overture and its companion in B flat are richly inventive and imaginative, abounding in the dramatic gestures beloved of the Mannheim school and in the nervous agitation and melancholy minor-key expressiveness of the fashionable Sturm und Drang style. It is easy to understand the latter work's great popularity not only in Britain but as far afield as Jamaica and St Petersburg. Concerto Caledonia's spirited, stylish performances do full justice to a delightful programme, which, ranging from charming Haydnesque trios to a rollicking strathspey and reel, displays Kellie's exceptional talent and versatile musical personality.


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