The "mongrel" is a cross between Scottish
and Italian music in the 18th Century when both genres were
popular, particularly in the British Isles.
This issue affords many examples of the connection
between the two. There are Italian-born composers who set Scots tunes,
real or invented. Some worked in Scotland, like Barsanti (1690-1772),
Bocchi, whose Scots Cantata of 1720 sets its words extrovertly,
or Corri, whose keyboard variations on Duncan Gray are sparklingly
performed by David McGuinness. Others like Geminiani or Veracini, whose
Sonata is finely done by Adrian Chandler, merely pandered to the general
desire for 'Scotchery'.
We also have Scottish composers who imported Italian
elements into their music like the Edinburgh musician McGibbon, whose
Sonata in Imitation of Corelli finds a good advocate in Lucy Russell.
James Oswald, eventually made his living in London.
This is an enjoyable and illuminating issue which students
of the period cannot afford to ignore. Performances are lively and stylish
(I must mention the beguiling singing of Mhairi Lawson and Jamie McDougall).
Mr McGuiness’s notes stress the importance of Allan Ramsay and William
Thomson in popularising Scotland’s contribution to the music of the
period. They are full of fascinating information.