Our weekly two-hour program that takes an in-depth look at various aspects of music and performance.
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Born in England, Rodney emigrated to New Zealand in 1950 with his family. A very musical family he, at the age of 9, joined a chidren's choir. The choir conductor suggested he take singing lessons when his voice broke. Joining the local Operatic Society in the chorus he was soon singing leading tenor roles. With little professional work available Rodney returned to England in 1970 to work with The Black and White Minstrel Show. Arriving in Australia in 1974 Rodney joined the Victoria State Ope...learn more
17th August 2017, 8pm-10pm
Music Inspired by Literature: Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)
Sir Walter Scott’s family roots are inextricably entwined with the history of Scotland and England, which he absorbed from his childhood. He himself lived through some of the most interesting and momentous events of British and European history. His passion for this history and his ability to set historic events in the issues of his day through the narrative of his poems and novels carry though to the musical works inspired by his writing. Peter Gardner explores this surprisingly extensive body of wonderful music including works by Beethoven, Schubert, Berlioz, Arthur Sullivan, Max Bruch and Adrien Boieldieu. There is much, much more so a second program has now been scheduled for 23 November.
Scott was a formidable character of great significance in literature and in his political engagement. His grandfather, the Laird of Buccleuch, was knighted on the field for his valiant conduct in the Battle of Flodden (1513) and subsequently led an attempted rescue of the 14 year-old King James V of Scots from virtual captivity by his guardian Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus in 1526. The ensuing battle took place at Melrose. While not successful, Buccleuch’s men rallied at the turn off to the ford from the old Roman road marked by a stone now known as the ‘Turn Again Stone’ where they killed the Kerr of Cessford and the chase seems to have ended. Scott’s father walked the young Walter around many ancient sites and this one seems to have held a special place in Scott’s affections for it was here that he decided to build his home in 1812 and call it Abbotsford. His grand-father was also granted by King James IV the Baillie of the lands of Melrose Abbey (founded 1136), thereafter a hereditary title. There were several fords across the Tweed, including one even closer to the abbey but it seems this is the only one to have been so named. It is still used today – see photos below.
The map below shows the likely path from the “Turn Again” stone to Abbot’s Ford and the location of Scott’s home. It is 300m from Abbotsford House to the ford. The stone was previously used to mark the turn-off from the road to the ford, perhaps by the Roman garrison since it is beside the old Roman road.
The photographs below show Abbot’s Ford and Scott’s Abbotsford as they are today.
Abbot’s Ford on the River Tweed by the Galafoot Bridge
Fording the River Tweed at Abbot’s Ford. The building on the right is the Kingsknowes Hotel.
Looking across the Tweed to Abbotsford
View from Abbotsford House across the Tweed
More information on Scott’s Abbotsford is at http://www.scottsabbotsford.com/
Poetry and novels: http://www.gutenberg.org/
Walter Scott Research Centre, Aberdeen University: https://www.abdn.ac.uk/sll/research/walter-scott-research-centre/index.php
The Walter Scott Digital Archive, the Centre for Research Collections, Edinburgh University Library: http://www.walterscott.lib.ed.ac.uk/home.html