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Three Scots Ballads

for baritone and piano

Year:  1960   ·  Duration:  11m
Instrumentation:  can be sung by mezzo-soprano

Year:  1960
Duration:  11m
Instrumentation  can be sung by mezzo-soprano

Composer:   David Farquhar

Films, Audio & Samples

Sample Audio

Sample: 0:00-1:00 3. Lord Randal

See details ➔


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The drama and poetry of traditional Scots ballads have a universal appeal, but particularly for a composer who (like many New Zealanders) had a Scots ancestry. 'King Orfeo' is unusual in that it is based on the Greek legend of Orpheus, who now plays the bagpipes rather than the lute; and doubly unusual in that it has a happy ending with Orfeo rescuing his Isabel. The other two ballads are more typical in their themes of darkness and death. Lord Randal's story is told in dialogue with his mother; it is interesting that another dialogue-ballad, 'Edward', was set by Schubert towards the end of his life. These settings also exist in a version for voice and orchestra

Contents note

  1. King Orfeo
  2. The Two Corbies
  3. Lord Randal

Performance history

11 May 1990: Performed by Margaret Lion (piano) and Marion Olsen (mezzo-soprano) at St John's Smith Square in London

30 Jun 2011: Performed by Hadleigh Adams (baritone) and Catherine Norton (piano) St Lawrence Jewry in London as part of the 2011 City of London Festival

17 Sep 2011: The Flowers of the Sea

Performed by Barry Mora (baritone) and Margaret Nielsen (piano)

Performed by Bary Mora (baritone) and Margaret Nielson (piano); recorded on Farquhar: Three Scots Ballads; cassette

Performed by Bary Mora (baritone) and Margaret Nielsen (piano)

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