Archives For Scots Song

British summer time ended on 24th October, the clocks go back so we have more light in the morning but this means now its dark at 4pm.  It’s getting much cooler now, the heating is on more and germs are spreading maybe because we’re inside more?  A cold is a nightmare for singers and can mean having to rest your voice.

As a singer your body is your instrument and prevention is often better than a cure so you listen to all sorts of advice to keep a cold at bay from avoiding sneezing people; washing your hands regularly, taking honey; lemon drinks; chewing garlic cloves; steam inhalation; drinking infusions to constantly wearing a scarf and protecting your ears when walking outdoors in the cold.

I found this fascinating blog post on Opera Pulse that even warns singers of the dangers of molly-coddling and reports that the famed coloratura Luisa Tetrazzini in The Art of Singing (1909) says; ‘Personally I never wear a collar and have hardened my throat’.

As a general rule when I walk around outside I wear a scarf but tend not to wear one indoors unless it’s say a chilly church or rehearsal room.  It was wonderful this birthday to be sent scarves as gifts from family and Pascal Barnier and Nicola Heales, a lovely twitter friend of mine, so unexpected and immediately put to great use.  I’ve even been on-line to learn how to tie them better.


Some Great Ideas For Knots From ‘’



Pascal Barnier’s Designs

Click on these images to see a bigger image.









Here is a short demonstration ( click below )

I entered this year’s Scots Song competition at the Conservatoire I didn’t place but I thought you’d enjoy listening to one of the songs that I’d learnt for the occasion it was recorded at our Edinburgh Recital. I didn’t compete last year so this was a nice gentle competition to get back in the swing of things. I am still working on the Scottish accent 🙂

Happy St Andrew’s day to everyone in Scotland for tomorrow, 30th November.

‘Ay Waukin, O’ – Francis George Scott ( 1880 – 1958 )

Scots Song – Track 12

February 4, 2015 — 54 Comments


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.