Concerto Caledonia

Robert Mackintosh: Airs, Minuets, Gavotts And Reels

(Delphian)

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I am horrified to realise how little I know of Scotland's music. And here is a revelation, thanks to that Indiana Jones of Scottish music, David McGuinness, and his piratical band, Concerto Caledonia. Robert Mackintosh, known as "Red Rob", was a Perthshire musician, born in 1745, and clearly a man with an enquiring mind and a broad palate. His fascinating history, which took him all over Scotland and down south, is recounted in detail in the liner notes for this irresistible CD, which features the music of his first published set of pieces, an enthralling collection in both classical and what we now call traditional styles. Reels nestle foot-tappingly alongside gavottes (spelled here with no "e") and minuets, all traditional classical forms, but with a twang, and there is a wonderful so-called Solo, in effect a three-movement solo sonata. The playing is exhilarating, and wait until you hear McGuinness going mental on the square piano. Brilliant – and important – stuff.

Michael Tumelty