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The Burns Encyclopedia
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'Caledonian Pocket Companion, The'

This Favourite Collection of Scotch Tunes with Variations for the German Flute or Violin was published in London by James Oswald in 1759. The entire work extended to twelve parts, and in spite of its name, it was the largest collection of its kind to be published.

James Oswald (1711 — 69) began life as a dancing master at Dunfermline, but having won attention by a Collection of Minuets published two years before, moved to Edinburgh in 1736. He found it difficult to earn a living there, however, and in 1741 emigrated to London. His departure drew a poetic lament from Allan Ramsay, alleging that Edinburgh's loss was London's gain. In London, Oswald wrote music for a number of plays, and published, among other works, Twelve Songs (c.1742), Six Pastoral Solos for a Violin and Violoncello (c.1745), airs for Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter (c.1747) and Twelve Seranatas [sic] for two Violins and a Violoncello (c.1765)

Burns took seven airs from the Caledonian Pocket Companion and from Oswald's Curious Collection of Scots Songs (1740): for 'It is na, Jean, thy bonny face'; 'Anna, thy charms my bosom fire'; 'You wild, mossy mountains'; 'If thou should ask my love'; 'O were I on Parnassus' Hill'; 'the Lovely Lass of Inverness'; and 'Go fetch to me a pint o' wine'. He thus fulfilled his prophecy made in a letter to James Johnson from Ellisland, probably written in the early summer of 1791: '... I was so lucky lately to pick up an entire copy of Oswald's Scots music and I think I shall make glorious work out of it'.

He added: 'I want much Anderson's Collection of strathspeys, and then I think I will have all the music of the country.'

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Robert Burns Store

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Complete Burns Songs

linn recordings of burns Linn Records have completed their landmark recording of all 368 Burns songs, available as individual CDs or a 12 volume presentation box set. We have full details. Click here...


Burns Music & Recordings
Search our huge CD and music store for any Burns-related phrase!
Hint: Type "lang syne" or "peck maut" etc. into the Search box there for all artists, titles, descriptions or track listings with the words entered.
Burns Chess Sets

Burns Chess SetsUnique collectors' pieces based on Burns' life and works. (The ideal gift for your Burns Supper guests!) Click here...

Scotweb Store

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