The lyrics of these 12 unique tracks were written by the celebrated 19th century Scottish novelist Sir Walter Scott. Published in "The Lady of the Lake", a historical tale of clan warfare and royal adventure which became popular throughout Europe and America, they helped to establish Scotland on the international tourist trail.
Two of the songs are world-famous, though few may realise that Scott wrote them: 'Ave Maria' (music by Franz Schubert) and the stirring US Presidential theme 'Hail to the Chief!' All the other songs were set to music by Anne Lorne Gillies, one of Scotland's most distinguished musicians and "a cracking good singer" (Scots Magazine) whose "dedication to the ethnic roots of Gaelic song has inspired a new generation" (Rock'n'Reel).
Add to this the clÃ rsach playing of the incomparable harpist Rhona MacKay, and the result is a completely original fusion of new and old, traditional and classical, Highland and Lowland: twelve tracks in which "Scott's poem is brought vividly to life" (Stirling News).
"Anne Lorne Gillies and Rhona MacKay should be declared national treasures of Scotland" (Oban Times).
Here is a review by www.rootsreview.co.uk
Anne Lorne Gillies; Lady of The Lake
Anne Lorne Gillies and Rhona MacKay
The songs from Sir Walter Scott's Poem.. "Lady in the Lake"
Few singers can muster sufficient power and dignity to even consider touching the supposedly clichÃ©d songs of Sir Walter Scott who so lavishly expressed the lofty sentiments of early Victorian Britain.
Dr Anne Lorne Gillies must be foremost among those few and Rhona MacKay's harping, rooted as is both in classical formality and the Scottish folk tradition (hear her in the Whistlebinkies) provides the finely formed and very credible setting for Anne's extraordinarily polished Scots/Classical singing voice.
This album may not appeal to everyone who would claim to love folk and roots music because it sits outside the fashionable celtic style in a place of its own. However I fearlessly assert that straightforward quality and musicality give it pivotal role in reviving respect and even affection for the long-dismissed but vital contribution of Scott to Scottish music and inevitably to the World's perception of all things Scottish and Celtic.
This is an album of contrast, for example: Schubert's "Ave Maria" is included as one of seven of Scott's songs the composer set to music and this version is, to my ear, one of the finest, purest and least affected I have heard. It's followed by "Coronach" which is very "Celtic" and slightly reminiscent of "She Moved Through the Fair" but it has a considerably more developed and I would say much better melody.
Interestingly, all but three of the melodies on the album are composed by Anne Lorne Gillies herself and, having met her even briefly, I know that she is both a great musician and utterly sincere in her approach to her material. So, if you can take the time to sit still and listen, put any musical prejudice aside and allow the delicious music of "The Lady of the Lake" to wash over you, you will find, as I did, that it has a great deal to offer that is seldom found in the "folk" idiom today.
I well recall playing some archive songs of Joan McKenzie to members of a folk band I played in some years ago which they greeted with childishly superior snickering and rolled eyeballs. They were so parochial that they missed the vital role her singing, like Anne's who was once her pupil, have in Scotland's true folk tradition today.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Soldier Rest
2. Not faster yonder rowers' might
3. Hail to the Chief
4. The Ballad of Alice Brand
5. Ave Maria
7. Far, far from love and thee
8. Blanche of Devan's plaint
9. Blanche of Devan's warning
10. The Saxon Soldier's Song
11. Roderick Dubh's Lament
12. The lay of the imprisoned huntsman