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Haydn’s visits to England in the 1790s did not take him as far as Scotland, but he did enter into correspondence with Edinburgh-based George Thomson, a collector of old Scottish airs.

Thomson commissioned Haydn – and other European composers – to arrange these melodies, with new poetic texts, for drawing-room performance with fortepiano and string accompaniment. That Haydn enjoyed the challenge is obvious from these 13 songs, including Robert Burns’ playful “My love she’s but a lassie yet”. Güra doesn’t make much of the English words, but it’s a pleasure to hear a leading Lieder interpreter championing this undervalued repertoire.

Haydn

Scottish Airs

Werner Güra

(Harmonia Mundi)

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