Society turns the focus on forgotten music of the past

Little-known Scottish music will be brought to a wider audience in the fitting setting of a grand stately home.

Sunday, 9th September 2018, 13:53 pm
Singer Elspeth McVeigh.

The Borders Music and Arts Society welcomes acclaimed singer Elspeth McVeigh to Mellerstain House near Kelso to perform a selection of 17th and 18th century songs and instrumental pieces.

Elspeth will be accompanied by a host of talented musicians, playing historical instruments such as the baroque fiddle, transverse flute and viola da gamba.

The programme aims to reflect the age and use of music at Mellerstain, which boasts magnificent Music Rooms, designed and built for Lady Grizel Baillie in the 17th century, a noted musician who played and composed Scottish pieces.

The selection represents the variety and beauty of the music, and its peculiarly Scottish sound.

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Many of the songs are anonymous, with roots reaching into the 16th century.

Others are arrangements of traditional songs and broadside ballads, whose melodies and lyrics were adapted, adopted and integrated into splendid music of the period as the 18th century witnessed an intense interest in the rediscovery of Scottish music.

There will be pieces by Barsanti, songs from 17th century lute books, and work from the 18th century Orpheus Caledonius and Tea Table Miscellany – A Collection Of Choice Scottish Songs.

Elspeth grew up in Scotland, where she learned numerous traditional songs and ballads from her grandmother, many of which are rarely performed today.

She is an accomplished singer of early Scottish and European Baroque music, and is often asked to perform the music of Robert Burns.

The singer now lives in Vancouver in Canada, but frequently returns to Scotland to perform.

The programme at Mellerstain takes place on Thursday, September 13, at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £17.50, concs £8.75, available on 01835 864153, or online at