ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Mungrel Stuff
PERFORMER: Concerto Caledonia/David McGuinness
CATALOGUE NO: CKD 140
‘Mungrel stuff’ refers, in this case, to 18th-century Scottish-Italian music, and even that unlikely hybrid appears in a number of guises. Composers featured on this diverting collection include Italians resident in Scotland (Francesco Barsanti, Lorenzo Bocchi, Domenico Corri), a Scotsman paying homage to an Italian master (William McGibbon) and Italian and Scottish visitors to London, happy to capitalise on the passing English fancy for (not necessarily authentic) Scottish folk music (Francesco Geminiani, Francesco Maria Veracini, William Thomson, James Oswald). So, for example, we get McGibbon’s Sonata in Imitation of Corelli, a Veracini sonata that incorporates variations on the tune ‘Tweed Side’, and even a French dance, based on a Scots tune, by the Italian expatriate Corri.
David McGuiness’s booklet notes bravely quote contemporary dismissals of this material as ‘mungrel stuff’ and ‘trash’, and most of it is certainly lightweight. But there are some charming works here too – Veracini’s sonata, Barsanti’s haunting writing for flute, Geminiani’s flowing arrangement of ‘The Lass of Peaty’s Mill’ – and nearly everything is enhanced by Concerto Caledonia’s sharp, fresh performances. If the music does begin to pall, some unintentionally funny lyrics – ‘Her Lips, O wow! they’re dainty’, ‘She blooming tight and tall is’ – provide further entertainment. Graham Lock