Hamish MacCunn (1868-1916, Scottish)

Ever heard of Hamish MacCunn? I hadn’t, before chancing a few years ago on the CD reissue of “Music of the Four Countries”, with his Concert Overture “The Land of the Mountain and the Flood” recorded in 1968 by the Scottish National Orchestra under Alexander Gibson, with other works of Ethel Smyth, Hamilton Harty and Edward German. MacCunn was Scottish and probably more important in the footnotes of the music history books for conducting the first performance of Tristan in English than for his work as a composer. In fact he devoted more time to his conducting career. His Concert Overture was written when he was 19 and completing his studies at the Royal College of Music under Hubert Parry and Charles Villiers Stanford. It is colorful an lively but without great personality, hrking back to Mendelssohn, Meyerbeer and early Wagner (the spinster’s chorus in Flying Dutchman may come to mind).

Comments are welcome