SONGS OF SCOTLAND • Marie McLaughlin (sop); Malcolm Martineau (pn); Isobel Frayling-Cork (clarsach)1 • HYPERION 55336 (75:10 Text and Translation)
TRAD Loch Lomond. O whistle and I’ll come to you, my lad. Jock o’ Hazeldean. Comin’ thro’ the rye. Ye banks and braes o’ bonnie Doon. Dance to your daddy. The flowers o’ the forest. The Skye boat song.1 The cockleRead more gatherer.1 The fidgety bairn. A fairy’s love song.1 The gallant weaver. The keel row. There’s nae luck about the house. An island sheiling song. The white cockade. Bonnie wee thing. Air falalalo. A rosebud by my early walk. Hush-a-ba, birdy, croon, croon.1 An Eriskay love lilt.1 My love’s in Germany. The winter it is past. The tocherless lass. The Laird o’ Cockpen. Kind Robin lo’es me. Ca’ the yowes. The Queen’s Maries. The rowan tree. The bonnie Earl o’ Moray. O Willie’s gane tae Melville Castle. Scots wha hae. The wee cooper o’ Fife
This is an absolutely delight. Unlike some collections of folk songs (even those set by Beethoven, Haydn, and Weber reviewed elsewhere), this one has a wide variety of moods. The program is planned intelligently, so that the mood keeps shifting and we don’t risk falling into a trance from endless sameness.
These performances could hardly be bettered. McLaughlin and Martineau (and on some of the songs, Isobel Frayling-Cork, who plays a small Scottish harp called a clarsach) all get into the spirit of each song, and are careful to differentiate colors and inflections. There is a smile in McLaughlin’s voice quite often, and the result is a set of performances that practically define the word “infectious.” Recorded sound is well balanced and natural, McLaughlin’s diction is clear (but just in case, Hyperion provides texts), and there are informative notes to accompany the disc. This appears to be a reissue of a recording that was made in 1991, but I missed it its first time around and am delighted to encounter it now.