Scots Song – Track 12


One of the best things about studying classical music here at the RCS is the opportunity to explore diverse repertoire. Immersing yourself in great works from different composers, countries and cultures makes for exciting times.

I added two beautiful Scottish Songs to my repertoire for a competition, the Hugh S Robertson Scots Song competition held at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in November 2013., “Scots Song” and “The Laird O’ Cockpen”. These songs are tracks 12 and 13 on my album Canzoni D’Amore (Songs of Love).

James MacMillan

‘Scots Song’ was composed by James MacMillan (b.1959) CBE, in 1991 and is one of the songs from ‘Three Scottish Songs’ an atmospheric setting of poems in Scots and in English by William Soutar (1898-1943)..

William Soutar

‘Scots Song’ 1991; ‘Ballad’ 1994; and ‘The Children’ 1995.

James MacMillian is a Scottish born Classical and modern composer and conductor who became Associate composer with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

“The Tryst” poem by William Soutar became the Scots Song. The hauntingly beautiful lyrics could be explained as two lovers meeting secretly at night and sharing precious hours together before having to part in the morning.

O luely, luely cam she in
And luely she lay doun;
I kent her be her caller lips
And her briests sae sma’ and roun’

A’ thru the nicht we spak nae word
Nor sinder’d bane frae bane:
A’thru the nicht I heard her hert
Gang soundin’ wi’my ain.

It was about the waukrife hour
Whan cocks begin to craw;
The she smool’d saftly thru the mirk
Afore the day wud daw.

Sae luely, luely cam she in
Sae luely was she gaen;
And wi’her a’ my simmer days
Like they had never been

I sang it at The Kathleen Ferrier Bursary competition, but here’s a recording I made at Bury Parish Church on February 14th 2014, a great tune for Valentine’s day.

I recently went with friends to watch James MacMillan’s opera “Ines de Castro” at the refurbished Theatre Royal in Glasgow. It was a great evening and I must put some time aside to write about it for you. Here are a couple of pictures from the evening.


54 thoughts on “Scots Song – Track 12

  1. There is such a haunted, haunting, quality to this piece and I find it interesting to hear the Scottish vernacular sung without a brogue; twas much easier to hear the words in my own speak this way. Your voice crystal clear and most enjoyable. Your presentation poised and commanding. I tell you young lady, I shall be ever honored to remind people that I stood in full observance of your career blooming! Brava.

    1. What a lovely compliment Annette thank you. It is hauntingly beautiful, I had some help with pronunciation from my flatmate’s Mum. I love the Scottish vernacular then again I love all accents and the different lyrical sounds they make.
      Best wishes

  2. Is it almost a year ago already? A pleasing reminder of an unusual musical experience for me and confirmed status as first blog follower to attend a recital and meet you.

  3. Gorgeous. And I was pleased to see the reference to Kathleen Ferrier, my all-time favourite. Now what about “Blow the wind southerly”?
    Gert the non-Norwegian.

    1. Blow the Wind Southerly was such a popular song in the music festivals I know it but haven’t sung it, I’ll have to give it a go. 😄 I’m looking for a Norwegian speaker if you come across someone send them my way.
      Best wishes

    1. The castle is called Eilean Donan on a small island in the Western Islands. A visit thanks to photoshop but I’ve already put it on my list of places I want to visit.
      Best wishes

  4. Charlotte once again you look and sound great i took my tablet around to show my friend and she thought you were fantastic,well your nan might understand my husband better being scottish if she visits you often good luck xxx

    1. Nan’s here with me now Barbara and she said she’ll never understand Tony in a million years lol 😃. She’ll have to listen to my song over and over again.
      Best wishes

      1. Many songsters feature a mixture of Scottish and Irish, but I think there is more than enough familiar material to have an album featuring songs exclusively from Scotland.

  5. I admire how you’re surrounded by the arts and music living and studying in Glasgow. I’ve enjoyed all your posts. Thanks for sharing your life with us.

  6. Hello, could you say me if it’s a good translation please :
    O softly, softly she came in
    And softly she lay down ;
    I have kiss her be her cool lips
    And her breasts are small and round
    And through the night we speak not word
    than parted bone from bone :
    And through the night I heard her hart
    gong sounding with my pain.
    It was about the waking hour
    When cocks begin to crowing
    Then she slipped safely through the darkness
    Before the day would dawn.
    so softly, softly she came in
    so softly was she gone;
    And with her are my simmer days
    Like they had never been

    1. Does this help? A French translation from my music score:
      O, doucement, elle est entrée
      Doucement elle s’est allongée.
      Je connais ses lèvres fraîches
      Et sa poitrine petite et ronde.

      Et pendant la nuit, nous ne dîmes mot
      Ni ne séparâmes membre de membre:
      Et pendant la nuit, j’entendis son cœur
      Battre avec le mien.

      C’est vers l’aube
      Alors que le coq commença à chanter
      Qu’elle se retira doucement dans la brume
      Avant le lever du jour.

      Si doucement, elle est entrée
      Et doucement elle est partie
      Et avec elle tous mes beaux jours
      comme s’ils n’avaient jamais été.

      😊 Charlotte

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